Our first-ever Annual General Meeting was held on April 16th and it was a great success. Over 250 people attended, providing a solid representation of our growing membership. This was the first time that most members had been at a food co-op AGM, so everyone was excited to be participating in a new, democratic business that is impacting our everyday lives.
The formal program was led by Graham Cubitt, our President, who summarized our Co-op’s journey and successes throughout its development and first months of operations. The audited financial statements for our first fiscal year ending September 30, 2013 were presented by Robert Kloet from our Finance Team, and were accepted by the membership. A variety of motions were presented by the Board including ratifying the current Board members who led the co-op through the pre-AGM founding phase, adopting our by-laws, updating our official address to 460 York Blvd, and appointing an auditor for 2015.
Two member resolutions were also presented, both addressing how to maximize members’ ability to participate in directing the Co-op. Discussion was lively, evidencing the value that our members place on being part of our co-operative business. The motions were passed and the Board will now be overseeing a review of democratic participation strategies including Fair Voting.
Vice-President Nrinder Nann oversaw our first formal elections. Seven candidates were running for two available positions. Five had expertise in accounting and financial oversight and two brought experience as agricultural producers. We appreciate all candidates for stepping forward, and welcome Gregory Ciupka and John Crowther to our Board of Directors.
Our AGM was not just about business, though. We enjoyed a delicious variety of locally made refreshments courtesy of our generous Mustard Seed suppliers including Feng’s Dumplings, Sabores Latinos, Evelyn’s Crackers, Jensen Cheese, Cake and Loaf Bakery, AlbaLisa Chips, Barrie’s Asparagus tortillas, Neal Brothers, New Moon Kitchen Cookies, Hero Coffee, & Tea at the Whitehouse.
A few rounds of the game show “Co-op Family Feud” challenged volunteers with a variety of questions including: name our top sellers (by SKU) — Locke Street Bakery bagels, organic bosc pears, bananas, lemons, avocados, red kale, member-coffees and the now-famous Barrie’s Asparagus tortilla chips! As we go forward, it will be interesting to see how our membership’s tastes are reflected in what is most commonly purchased at the Co-op.
A special thank you to our volunteers who organized our first AGM. Without our members’ involvement, so many aspects of our co-operative business would not be possible. But that’s what we’re all about – we’re member-owned because we want to be be involved in making our own lives and our community’s life better. So we look forward to #AGM2 next April! (photos courtesy of Mustard Seed member George Qua-Enoo (www.georgequaenoo.com).