Yesterday I worked with board members from the Wasatch Cooperative Market. Ten of us gathered for a potluck dinner of delicious and healthy foods, a glass of wine, friendship, and the setting sun of a warm Utah summer evening.
We shifted our attention into deliberate meeting, a transition from bar-b-que and good social space into another kind of good learning space with each other. Some welcome and concert from Michael Jeppeson, board member, to help frame the need for seeing where this group is in its intent to build a store offering local products, and what I loved, “an evolution of the grocery and food experience.”
We started with a check-in circle. “Where are we in the story?” I wanted to explore the clarity of the current narrative that is making sense for them. Lots of good expressions that represent the complexity of information, emotion, and energy for such an undertaking. Question about the deep why of what they are doing. Good framing of entering a patient second phase of feasibility. Desire to move and name essential departments, location, scope and size.
We continued with a brainstorming list of key issues. I asked if this was shared among them. Of course, some of it was. And, it was helpful to bring it live to all of those present.
Next was a change to look from the belly at what are the smart starts, the most immediate next experiments. This was a tough thing to do. It asks something different from the participants. To move from the list quality of anything and everything to belly quality of intuition on what wants to happen now. Everything from the tangible of naming components of store to key messaging and deeper questions of purpose.
I hope this group succeeds. And I hope they can dwell in the complexity of what they are up to, long enough to get to the natural gold of what can happen. As I said last night in my check in, at a broader level, a cooperative market is about changing consciousness of a people and how we are in relationship with food, community, and localism.