Last week, three of our board members attended the Co-op Cafe workshop in downtown Raleigh hosted by CDS Consulting Co-op. It is designed as a roundtable discussion of common themes, issues and strategies surrounding food co-ops. It was well-attended by our local co-ops — Durham Co-op, Weaver Street Market and Chatham Marketplace were present as well as French Broad Food Co-op in Asheville and Daily Groceries in Athens, GA.

The workshop theme was Co-op Impact. We explored how co-ops impact their community, their environment and their staff, as well as ways in which that impact can be executed. We discussed how each of the various roles that exist within a co-op can have their own impact. Additionally, we identified the organizational structure and systems that need to be in place to support all of those different roles.

It was an invigorating day and we each walked away energized and with many takeaways from the discussions. Connecting with staff and volunteers from other successful co-ops was most enjoyable. Despite still being in our startup phase, the others showed The Community Market tremendous amounts of support. We absorbed as much knowledge as we could from those who have taken this journey before us.