When the opportunity to get involved as a volunteer with The Community Market surfaced, I was quick to put my hand in the air. The grassroots organization, community building and economy strengthening really appealed to me. For a year, I served as a volunteer. I helped maintain the website and social media accounts.  I wrote press releases and blog posts. I organized events and worked booths. I met current owners and soon-to-be owners. I was finding my tribe of people invested in not just local, fresh food but also in the community.

I spoke to anyone who would give me five seconds about all the benefits I had learned a co-op brings to their communities. The jobs it would create and fair wages it would bring. The relationships built with local farmers and businesses. The healthy, local food it would provide.

I was charged, pumped and ready to roll up my sleeves to DO something. I needed a place to focus my enthusiasm.

It was not a far leap to run for a board position after that first year as a volunteer. I could not wait to get a seat at the big kids table and see firsthand the operation of building a local food co-op. To say that the first month was overwhelming is an understatement. The amount of work that goes into maintaining the co-op’s forward motion is so much more than I expected.

As a true volunteer board, every single one of our board members holds a full-time job outside of the work they do for the co-op. We put countless hours into meetings, document prep, marketing, website maintenance, brochure design, event planning and real estate searches. It is all done in between family obligations and work-life balance. Truly, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We love what we do. We are empowered, excited and driven in our effort to see our co-op succeed. While this may be the most challenging job I am not getting paid to do, it is also the most fulfilling.

 

AUTHOR:  Anne-Marie is a native Virginian who settled in North Carolina with her husband, two kids, a pair of rescue dogs and her horse. She splits her time between being a mom and volunteering in her community. Currently, she sits on the executive board for The Community Market and has previously served on the executive board for the Fuquay-Varina/Holly Springs chapter of MOMS Club.