Goals and Purposes?

By Brandi Monson, member since 2006

What are we doing here? Is it just an outlet to purchase food? Like a local mini Sam’s club?
Our member handbook has this to say about it:
     “Goals & Purposes: The purpose of the SEKS Buying Club is to provide members with high quality natural foods, at a reasonable cost while creating a supportive network.”
It goes on to expound on these goals and purposes as follows:
1~to coordinate our food buying so as to be able to get the best food at the best prices.
2~to create a community of people with shared values.
3~to experience the pleasures and challenges of working together cooperatively.
4~to promote organic agriculture and environmentally responsible technology and products by informed buying.
5~to educate others in our community about cooperatives, organic agriculture, environmentally responsible consumerism, etc.
6~to educate ourselves by sharing our skills and knowledge with each other.

So, as I ponder these thoughts, I question as to whether or not our club is living up to it’s ideals? I’d say “probably” to the first three, “maybe” to the 4th and most likely “no” to the 5th and 6th items.
Are we simply a buying club, getting what we need and looking no further than the end of our invoices? Or do we have a greater calling and community responsiblity?
We have a diverse group with a plethora of knowledge and talents. With a little cooperation & energy we could make a huge impact on our own community base here in Independence. Then perhaps reaching out to our sister communities. Some of that knowledge lies in our eating habits. For example we have: vegetarians, wheat-free, soy-free, raw foods, whole foods, & more, families with know how and have experience that could be shared with those in our club and our community.
We also have very experienced and knowledgable gardeners/farmers who have a wealth of information that could be shared with others. How many people do you know that don’t even grow a small garden? Why don’t they? Some don’t have room, others lack knowledge, and yet others don’t have the ability[ies] or resources. What if we were to impact the community on a ground level? Teaching others how to garden. Remember the “victory gardens” of the WW II era? I think that it’s high time that we start thinking along these lines again. Food isn’t going to get any cheaper. And we all know the benefits of home grown goodies.
Changing our community[ies]is a grass roots effort. I would love to see Independence take on a more healthful look, both in her citizens and in her property. I think that we can effect & affect this community in just such a way. Certainly on a small level to begin with, but all growth starts with a small seed.
Something as simple as a community garden. Or perhaps open houses where we share our knowledge with those in need. [Just from seeing Wal-Mart carrying wheat-free items, I know that there has to be a market in this town/area for wheat-free diets.] Perhaps having mini-seminars to educate interested persons to the benefits of organic and eco-friendly agriculture. What about natural living options including natural cleansers, cloth diapering, natural birth, breastfeeding, etc. There are many, many needs in our area. I am sure that there are just as many ideas out there in your minds as well. Wont you share them with us? Lets start a dialog and see where this trail leads us.


4 thoughts on “Goals and Purposes?

  1. For Member Megan Hughes, with permission.

    Hi Brandi and All,

    Brandi, I think you bring up some good questions – and for the sake of continued discussion, I thought I’d throw in my two bits.

    First and foremost – I belong to the SEK Buying Club simply because I want access to food that I am unable to purchase at our local grocery store. For the past 20 years I have lived in small towns and luckily,
    there has been a buying club everywhere I have lived. I am so grateful for that and so for me, that is reason enough for this group to exist and probably is the same for many others who also want and need this food. To find ways to make it as simple as possible seems like a reasonable goal in and of itself.

    Any activities beyond that seem to me to be a question of personal choice/motivation and should not be a requirement to be part of the group. Yes, there is a lot of knowledge within the group that could
    be shared with the wider community and yes, we could share more of that knowledge with each other as well. The blog, email, occasional potlucks, public service announcements in the paper/on the radio, are all simple forms of communication and outreach.

    Our joining together to purchase food provides us with an automatic community of somewhat common interests out of which voluntary subgroups could emerge. For example, Brandi’s interest in a community
    garden. There might be others with similar inspiration who might be interested in working on that with you. I could envision potlucks where we gather for informal sharing but could also have a brief presentation by a member or other person. These could be publicized and open to the public but certainly not mandatory for club members. Something akin to the mini-seminars you mentioned.

    I personally believe the only mandatory thing in this group should be that you pick up your food on time and pay for it. I think we risk the group falling apart if too many obligations are attached to
    membership. If you don’t want to attend any meetings, that should be ok as well – as long as you are willing to abide by decisions made in your absence. If you don’t want to work, you don’t get a discount.
    If you don’t want to go any further than purchasing food, that’s ok. But as Brandi suggests, there are lots of possibilities for those who are interested.

    Those are some of my thoughts. Thanks for getting the discussion started Brandi.


  2. Brandi
    You bring up some great thoughts! I know there are some great minds in our group that I would love to share information with! I personally fell alittle distant from the group and discussions because I don’t have daily access to the internet(some times it is weeks!). I would love it if we could make a difference in our communities and our families within the group. There are those out there who have the desire but no know-how and there are those who have the know-how but don’t know of the need. Anyway, for what it is worth I agree, but where do we start?

  3. Thanks for your thoughts Micheale. Perhaps after we hear from a few more members, those who are interested can discuss this very question: “where do we start?”

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