Carbondale Community Food Cooperative members will face a number of options at their next meeting, but one looms larger than the others: dissolution. Without more volunteers to take on shifts to keep the Dandelion Market operating, that’s exactly what will likely happen.
“We are truly at a crucial point,” said Erica Sparhawk, a board member and town trustee who works as the program director for Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER). “In order to succeed, we need to be able to open more hours and we need more shoppers,” she said in an email, noting the organization’s need for greater revenue in order to continue to reimburse vendors.
The market has been in its current location at 1310 Highway 133 since August but only celebrated an official grand opening in late September.
“We have a great little store. We are in a fabulous location,” Sparhawk said. “Our goals have been to provide the local and organic foods that our members and shoppers want while keeping our costs low so that vendors can get repaid.”
On Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. at the Third Street Center, members will vote on a resolution of dissolution — but it’s not the only possible outcome. The current board of directors has made a list of recommendations, should members choose to avoid dissolution. Among them: convert the organization’s structure from a cooperative business to a nonprofit — which will require five new board members — and implement membership dues.
Weekend volunteer shifts from 12 – 6 p.m. will also need to be filled in order to move forward, according to the meeting agenda. And while the current board recommends that any future for the organization should be as a nonprofit entity, its goals require a business mindset, as the agenda also calls for both a volunteer coordinator and marketing specialist. Members who intend to vote “no” on dissolution are specifically asked to come the meeting prepared to commit to these needs.
“We definitely need more working members volunteers and board members to really make it work,” Sparhawk said.