Tuesday, 01 January 2013 22:43
By Patrice Lockert Anthony
2012 is out, and 2013 is in. As this new year begins, what are some of our lessons? Reflections are funny things. Necessarily, they exist within the parameters of 20/20 vision. How do we make better, wiser, more thoughtful decisions without the (debatable) gift of prescience? Upon reflection, what is our measure for this year just passed?
We are believers in the cooperative movement, but what does that mean? Are we a community, or an exclusive enclave? Do we understand the world around us and how it operates (as well as how we operate within it)? Who are we within the cooperative construct? Does being in the movement alter who we are, or are we in the movement because we were different beings to begin? Perhaps both cases are true. I don't suppose it's really important to know which, or in which order it happened. Of more import is our measure now.
What is our measure? Do we believe in the cooperative principles, or is it just a cool thing to do, or even just a convenience for our families? Do we believe in it for ourselves, but don't really care whether others are on board? If we do care, do our lives (our daily doings) reflect this care? If necessary, how do we decide to do things differently? What is our process for making things happen in our lives? What operates as our driving force? How might that driving force effect change in the rest of our lives, whether it be a new health paradigm, or how we treat others?
The place where our cooperative hearts meet our lived lives is where our measure for this past year is to be taken. It isn't about pass or fail, so much as it is about whom we've chosen to be, from the inside, out. Are we satisfied with that measure? As we greet another year, our opportunities are renewed, and even expanded. We can take time to teach someone to cook using whole foods. We can donate to Loaves and Fishes, or a similar program, in order to better enable them to provide more whole grains, fresh produce, etc., to the people they serve. We could take our children to visit or help out at a food bank or homeless shelter.
Enriching our children's community and world perspectives is a great way to take measure of a lived life. We can also choose to be kinder, from our thoughts to our actions. I'm not sure those can be considered kind who do or say the right thing, but think the ugly thing. Representing the cooperative principles requires more than purchasing our food at a co-op. Living the cooperative principles is good, clean food, though. Food prepared in ways that leave it whole, and nurturing to body and soul. Water, untainted by fracking's damage. It is also friendships that are true, and fulfill us. Families that are healthy and happy.
With the chiming of the last sound of 2012, we are presented with a fresh turning of the hour hand. Shall we use it as an opportunity to re-examine our philosophical positions? Are there things we believe in, and espouse, that may engender divisiveness and hate? Our perspectives are our own. Yet, once espoused, they affect communities, nations, the world. Once an idea is placed in a child's head (and heart), whole worlds grow around that idea. Do you want, for the world, what you have shared with the child? Do you want, for the child, what you have shared with the world?
Belonging to a cooperative grocery store is so easy to take for granted. When's the last time most of us even read through the list of cooperative principles? I know how busy our lives have become, but take a moment to read them through. Imagine a world where they are more than just words on paper. Imagine us really living them. Imagine living in a world where taking our measure almost always leaves us satisfied. 2013 is here to offer us another opportunity to embrace a cooperative spirit. I wish you all lives filled with good measure, hope, love, and good food (affordable and healthfully prepared).
By Brandon Kane,
As I draft this update, GreenStar is only a short time away from closing on the loans that will fund our third cooperative market in Ithaca, slated to open in the late summer of 2016. The funding for this project offers a terrific example of the cooperati...