Board of Directors Candidate Statement: Jennifer Truman

I appreciate your openness to nominations from member-owners to the Board of our Fertile Ground Food Coop. And your consideration of myself for the position. 
I hope that my experience and knowledge can be of use to the Board and to the cooperative in its mission to open and run a successful, inviting and vibrant Black-owned Grocery Store in SE Raleigh.
1. Please tell us about your experience that is relevant to serving on the Fertile Ground Food Cooperative Board of Directors. 
I have served on Executive Committees on the Board of several community and professional organizations over the past decade. Those organizations included the Raleigh Food Corridor Leadership Committed, the American Institute of Architects North Carolina Board of Directors, and multiple student led organizations throughout undergraduate and graduate studies. 
In my professional capacity, I am an Apprentice at Matthew Konar Architect where I have the opportunity to work with food and beverage clients on creating their restaurants, bars, retail shops, farms and more. That project management experience has given me first hand knowledge of many small businesses and how the construction process of opening a new space is a critical moment for any small business. 
And finally, I've had a long term interest in healing both our local food system of growing, harvesting, selling and purchasing food as well as our healing our community through food. The majority of my volunteer and community efforts focus on the intersection of food, events and architecture.
You can view my resume and community involvement on my LinkedIn profile.

2. What led you to make this 8-10 hrs per month commitment of time & resources to serve on the Fertile Ground Food Cooperative Board? 

I became a founding member of Fertile Ground at the first meeting my husband and I attended because I believe that Fertile Ground has a powerful mission and leadership. I'm humbled to be considered for inclusion on a team of movers and shakers like the Fertile Ground Board. At this point in the life of Fertile Ground I believe that my experience in construction and project permitting within the City of Raleigh will be valuable to the cooperative as it considers site location, hiring a design team, and construction of The Store.

As a member of the Board I can assist with that process and provide information and insight based on my experience working for an architect. I also recognize that my membership on the Board would need to remain separate from any work related conflicts or interest in the project by my firm. 

Also, personally, I know that my capacity to serve will be increased from the past as I am rolling off of a Board position in another organization and can now commit to the greater commitment of time and resources that the Fertile Ground Board deserves.

3. What are the primary challenges and opportunities you see for Fertile Ground Food Cooperative? With those in mind, how do you see yourself contributing to address those issues? 
I think the primary challenge for Fertile Ground is growth, both in finances and membership to achieve the goals we have set out. We have over the past several years built an increasing momentum in both of those areas, because of the strength of our leadership and our vision
I see myself contributing to that strength of vision with my practical knowledge and skillset of getting projects from vision through design and open for customers. There are obviously many steps and negotiations needed along the way and I hope to leverage my knowledge and network for the benefit of the cooperative.
4. Do you want more information about cooperatives as a business enterprise? 
I am always looking to learn and absorb more information about how cooperatives work. I believe the cooperative model has the potential to transcend our current struggles with capitalism and political power that has yet to be fully realized. I also very much look forward to humbly learning from the leadership and wisdom on cooperatives, community organizing and black leadership and power from all the members of the Board.
5. Do you want more information about what it means to be a ‘working’ Board member?   
I would welcome any information that y'all are willing to share and look forward to the chance to have many more conversations with the Board.
Thanks for your consideration,