What’s New @ CGIN
At our seventh annual meeting this year in Minneapolis, Cooperative Grocers’ Information Network (CGIN) members enthusiastically offered up contributions of all types. Contributions to our scholarship fund broke records, with 24 individuals and co-ops pledging $2,000. These monies help make joining CGIN even more affordable to small co-ops. In addition, members pledged to send in hundreds of new items, including over 80 deli recipes, ten new photo gallery exhibits, and lots more “basic” resource items. Watch the site in coming weeks for new items.
In other highlights from our annual meeting, members re-elected Gail Graham (Mississippi Market—St. Paul) and elected Steve Cooke (Sevananda Natural Foods Co-op—Atlanta) and Doug Walter (Davis Food Co-op—Davis) to the board of directors. Electing new board members also means saying “goodbye” to departing directors. CGIN members joined the board in thanking David Fowle and Rochelle Prunty for their faithful and dedicated service to CGIN. The work of good board members is so important and we benefited greatly from their service.
We were also pleased to announce new or coming features for our site. This past spring, we engaged Carolee Colter to update our Livable Wage model, and the new version has been online since early June. The upgrade includes updated links for calculating costs, notes on how to make additional adjustments where cost data isn’t current or seems inaccurate, a page of frequently asked questions for explaining the model to employees and boards of directors, and case studies illustrating how several co-ops have adapted the model to suit their unique needs or circumstances.
We’re now working on some changes to our site that we hope will make it easier or more usable. First, we’re building interactive pages so you can add or update your job postings or classified ad listings directly. Later this year we’re planning to reorganize our site to set up a special section for co-op board members. We’ll put all of the items from the “board of directors” section of our basic resources library into this section, and it will be directly accessible to board members (with a password).
We know that board members are eager to make use of the CGIN site and we want relevant resources to be available to directors. At the same time, we respect the concerns of some members who’ve indicated that they would be more reluctant to contribute materials if our security system were changed from the way it operates currently. While this solution adds another level of complexity to our site and will come at some cost, we feel it’s a reasonable compromise to the shared interests and concerns. We hope you agree and trust that you’ll send us your feedback once we implement these changes.
For those of you who don’t monitor our site on a regular basis, here’s a sampling of some
of the new items added in the past couple of months:
• scripts from television ads
• catering and special ordering information from delis
• procedures for handling and investigating harassment
• a comparison chart on member equity
• a brochure and flier on local products and buying local
• consumer information about who owns what in the natural products industry
• and a steady stream of newsletter articles on a wide variety of topics
CGIN continues to operate two listserves. Our “main” listserve, also known as the “CGIN listserve” is open to anyone (CGIN member or not) and remains a dynamic forum for discussion and sharing on all topics. Feel free to subscribe and participate if you aren’t already signed up. The second is a specialized listserve for membership and marketing staff. Information on both of these listserves, including instructions on how to subscribe and links to their archives, is available at www.cgin.coop/listserve.html.
Thanks to UWCC, Anne Reynolds
This summer marks a quiet but noteworthy transition for CGIN. Effective August 1, 2004, the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives is no longer providing CGIN’s web programming. UWCC staff, especially Anne Reynolds, have been a quiet, steadfast, and high-value force in bringing functionality to the idea spawned by food co-ops eight years ago. It’s a relationship that has been a paragon of mutual benefit. Thanks for your support to CGIN and your unswerving commitment to cooperatives, UWCC!
Feel free to let me know what we can do to make the CGIN site better meet the needs of your co-op. Please send in your job postings, classifieds, samples materials, deli recipes, photo gallery exhibits, or other items for sharing. Your contributions are vital to helping other co-ops, and CGIN, thrive. Karen Zimbelman is Western Corridor development director for the National Cooperative Grocers Association (firstname.lastname@example.org or 707/445-4849).