Lauren McCalister

Why are you interested in serving on the board of Bloomington Cooperative Services (BCS)?
I am interested in returning to serve on the board of BCS in order to act on behalf of the owners to fulfill the promise laid out by the cooperative principles. Throughout my tenure, I plan to fulfill commitments from BCS to its owners and the community. 

What experience or involvement have you had with Bloomingfoods or other cooperatives?
Since 2010, I have served on the board of directors and was an employee until 2015. I will share my expertise in agricultural business and food justice to imagine and design strategic goals for the overall success of BCS. I attend training events hosted by the Cooperative Development Center. 

What has been your experience working cooperatively with small groups of people?
I am the co-owner of 3 Flock Farm and the Plant Truck Project, where I delegate tasks, administer payroll and profitably manage multiple accounts. I am a Black emerging farmer who practices cooperative principles by organizing with farmers, ranchers, consumers, advocates, social service agencies with the intention of sustainable growth.

Please share any professional, volunteer, or life experience you have had that will provide insight when serving on the BCS Board of Directors. Include knowledge, skills, formal training, and education that will contribute to the mission of our co-op.
Every week I volunteer in the equitable distribution of food resources and access to education for vulnerable populations. I facilitate mindfulness in the classroom and breathwork sessions as a Yoga teacher at IU. In addition, I joined Indiana Black Expo Business Institute and the Midwestern cohort of farmers

How do your values and lifestyle align with the values and mission of the co-op?
I am a Black farmer who values equity for each member of the food system. On our farm, we practice labor equity by paying above industry standard while collaborating with MHC in order to offer our food to populations who have been historically excluded from nutrient dense locally grown food

Given the stated Ends of BCS, what do you see as the primary role of BCS in the community?
The Ends statement adopted by BCS solidifies the role of a local food store to primarily envision the future goals and needs of the owners and consumers in the food system. I value the opportunity to create an equitable and interconnected food system presented by BCS. 

What are opportunities and challenges you see for BCS in the future expression of these Ends?
Currently, BCS is challenged by rising food and gas prices to work with local farms in order to retain earnings by providing sustainable outlets for local food. Under my tenure, I plan to meet the economic, social and political challenges by educating stakeholders and fostering cooperation among cooperatives. 

Please share any other brief statement that you feel is important regarding your potential service as a member of our board.
'Together we are powerful enough to produce new solutions to old barriers' -Ty Simmons, Human Agricultural Cooperative 

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