Kristina Sweet

View Kristina's resume here.

Why would you like to serve on the City Market Board? What excites you about becoming a Board Member?

I am an enthusiastic fan of thoughtful, deliberate decision-making, and I’m ready to serve City Market, Onion River Co-op’s member-owners as a board member. City Market is a significant community asset and a keystone of our local food system. My interest in serving on the City Market Board stems from both my work in Vermont agriculture and my belief in the value of the cooperative business model to contribute to social and economic equity. As a consumer, I appreciate the variety of food I can purchase, both conventional and organic, as well as the number of farms and small businesses I can support with just one shopping trip. I am excited by the prospect of working cooperatively with board members to make decisions in the interest of all members, to uphold the co-op’s principles and values, and to guide City Market’s future growth.

Please describe any professional skills you have that will help you to be an effective Board Member. How would you help the Board to balance the business needs of a $50 million business with the need to meet our Global Ends as a community-owned cooperative?

In my current position as Agriculture Development Supervisor at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, I manage federal grants awarded to my organization as well as grants to nonprofit organizations, farms, and other small businesses. This work involves creating and managing budgets and reviewing expenditures as well as working one-on-one to support farmers and organizations in completing grant-funded projects. I also frequently work with complex legal and policy documents, and I enjoy working as part of a team to make decisions collectively and transparently. I believe that by considering member input and focusing on the big picture, through careful deliberation, the board will continue to be able to guide the co-op in sustainable growth that serves both the business and its Global Ends.

Describe your prior involvement with community organizations and/or cooperatives. What did you learn from these experiences?

I have worked with many community organizations over the years and was a member of a food buying club in Chicago that later (after my time in the city) developed into the Dill Pickle Food Co-op. Members of the Logan Square Food Buying Club made decisions by consensus at monthly meetings but also had the opportunity to take on independent roles for which we were accountable to the group; shortly after joining, I worked to streamline ordering systems and provided updates and instructions to all club members. I always work to find the best role for my skills and talents when joining a new team. At the same time, I speak up to share my observations, opinions, and reasoning during discussions and decision-making and would unreservedly support group decisions that result from the board’s deliberative process.

What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future of City Market?

City Market operates in a competitive retail environment and at the same time is devoted to much more than simply making a profit. However, the co-op’s principles and values are also part of its strength, as it contributes to a more sustainable and just economy and food system. Finding ways to better serve the diverse communities of Burlington and surrounding areas will continue to be a challenge for the co-op, but one that I would be committed to addressing on the board.