Voting for the Davis Food Co-op (DFC) election has begun and will continue through May 27. Voters will be selecting three candidates to serve three-year terms on the board of directors, which helps lead the community-owned store.
“California co-op law says we’re going to have a board,” said membership director Douglas Walter, in an e-mail. “Democratic member control is the reason for annual elections…”
As the membership director, Walter runs 21 elections and believes that the way the Co-op is managed is critical to what makes it such a unique store.
Perhaps it is because of this that those running for the board of directors are enthusiastic about the role they seek to fulfill.
“I live, breathe, and, of course, eat the Davis Food Co-op,” said candidate Frank Fox. “A co-op is only as healthy as its members’ support and enthusiasm.”
The Food Co-op is located on Sixth and G Street and offers a variety of groceries with extended organic and locally grown options. Fox served on the board last year as a second alternate, only voting when others were absent, but hopes to obtain a full voting position this year.
“I feel it is my civic duty to serve on the DFC Board … with a strong focus on maintaining the DFC’s essential task: helping to bring the best natural, healthy and organically grown and harvested, local food products to our tables,” Fox said.
Fox, whose family has held shares in the Co-op since 1983, is one of six candidates who will be running.
Sarah Palmer is a UC Davis junior sociology major and has lived in Davis for a year. She said she believes she can do an excellent job filling a role on the Co-op board.
“I love that DFC has a variety of different products to serve the entire community, potentially serves the entire socio-economic spectrum and that the local food shed is supported whenever possible,” she said in an e-mail.
Palmer herself is a chef at the Co-op’s teaching kitchen, one of the community programs provided by the Co-op. However Palmer’s emphasis is not only on these efforts.
“I feel that the employee voice is very important and would love for them to have stronger representation,” she said.
Candidate Stacie Frerichs is a UC Davis alumna who has already served three years on the Co-op board and hopes to follow through with a second term.
“For me, it is less about change but more about building on our position as a strong community center in Davis,” she said in an e-mail. “To do this, the Co-op is focusing on community enrichment, our environmental values, product selection and value, and customer service, all of which I believe will help grow our community support.”
During her previous term, Frerichs helped plan how the Co-op will function in the changing competitive grocery environment in Davis and said she hopes to use this term to make the Co-op even more suited to the needs of its shareholders and community.
“My primary goal, as a director, has been and will continue to be to gain a clearer perspective of what is important to our owners and customers, and how to translate their values into the vision for our Co-op,” Frerichs said.
Another candidate running for the board is Ben Pearl, who has lived most of his life in Davis and works for the Solar Community Housing Association. Ben’s main campaign platform is to promote the cooperative community as a whole, and not just the Davis Food Co-op.
“Davis and our surrounding region boast an incredible array of public-benefit organizations, cooperatives and non-profits, which are doing valuable work,” he said. “I think we can have an even greater effect on the local community.”
Another candidate is Janie Booth, who is currently president of the board and said she is prepared for the precarious economic climate. Also running is Travis Breckon, who previously worked in a grocery store and keeps his own bees. Neither Booth nor Breckon were available to comment.
AARON WEISS can be reached at email@example.com.