Victoria Fullerton

I started on the board in 2015, and I feel energized to stay on and put my accumulated knowledge to good use.  During my tenure I was part of a push toward creating a more inclusive and accessible Board and I saw a new young Board come into being.  My training and work experience extends from community development projects for the Mayor of Boston, to producing exhibitions and films for public awareness initiatives.   
 
Having served as Chair of the ‘Committee on Employee Relations’, I hope to see more work done by the Board that underwrites our mandate of fairness.  This was the vehicle by which the Co-op became an employer who allows only ‘just cause’ in their employment policies.  The work of this committee was the outcome of management, employees and members working together.  
 
My interest in co-ops stemmed from having a garden and making our own food.  I grew up in a rural area full of history where our neighbors included the local famer whose family had been there for eight generations.  We picked berries, scavenged old grapevines and collected herbs to make their recipes.  My first art project was documenting the old farmhouse and the farmer plowing the fields with his two workhorses.  This was echoed in my summers in the English countryside, where I learnt organic methods in an old walled garden.  We kept gooseberries, cucumbers, rhubarb and early strains of apple trees and picked chanterelle.  The older trees produced fruit too beautiful to eat.  They lay in dishes waiting to be painted. 
 
As an artist, living in Vermont allows me to keep a close study of the small seasonal changes in habitat that feed my muse.  I support the upkeep of local economies by properly paying farmers and producers consistent with an organic chain of reciprocity.  A Co-op is a proven business model in every sense, and I will vouch for the members because they own the Co-op.  To extend our helping hands out toward each other should help us survive.  And I’d like to work to make that happen.

Candidate Questions

How should our Co-op go about educating others about health and wellness issues pertaining to products sold? I enjoy knowing how the Co-op interacts with its neighbors, vendors and other shareholders.  I think most members enjoy knowing that they and their neighbors are actively part of the decision making process.  Members could share ideas at an Open Table event where we can learn from one another and try things out.  Right now, I think many of us would benefit from sharing ideas about how to get through the rest of winter!  I would love to know if you had a secret hot toddy to prevent colds maybe handed down to you from your New England uncle?  And, I’d like to taste it too!  It would be helpful to encourage a farmer’s market model event where not just ideas were being explored. Members could be encouraged to come and sell their wares alongside others.
 
What is your vision for our Co-op?
I think the knowledge that we can learn from one another is part of the basis of not being corporate, and I would like to encourage member engagement by making clear visual and tactile exhibits that highlight the shareholders who make up the co-op community, and who benefits, and how the co-op interacts with these factions.   Members want to see themselves reflected in the shops, and enjoy finding out more about their neighbor’s needs, cultures and not just how we help each other.  I think we would enjoy knowing that everyone has something to offer, including employees, vendors, and other shareholders.   I think this type of interactive communication would underwrite new ideas to share at the Co-op.  And, I think in this knowledge we would become stronger.
   
What role do you believe our Board plays in our Co-op's success? I see the Board as shouldering the responsibility to set the direction and tone for the whole Co-op.  The Board functions in an oversight capacity, and thus retains a degree of independence while working together with workers and shareholders to encourage members to act in their own self-interest as owners.  It is up to the Board to do its due diligence to maintain a good course, and it is also our mission to find ways of keeping the Co-op aligned with members needs as we are their representatives.   

  

 Nourish. Cultivate. Cooperate.

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