Kristina Sweet

<< 2021 Board of Directors Elections


Kristina Sweet1. Why would you like to serve on the City Market Board? What excited you about becoming a Board Member?

As an enthusiastic fan of thoughtful, deliberate decision making, I’m excited for the opportunity to continue serving City Market, Onion River Co-op’s Member-owners for a second Board term. City Market is a significant community asset and a keystone of our local food system. As a Board Member, I have enjoyed working cooperatively to make decisions in the interest of our Members, to uphold the co-op’s principles and values, and to guide City Market’s future growth.

In addition, as a co-op shopper, I always appreciate the variety of products from a growing number of local farms and small businesses that I can support with one shopping trip. While the COVID-19 pandemic affected the availability of goods and consumer shopping habits, it also highlighted the importance of local food supply chains and City’s Market’s commitment to providing environments where shoppers felt safe through reduced store capacity limits, curbside pick-up, and other measures.

Over the past year and a half, City Market staff have diligently served our community during extremely challenging circumstances, and I look forward to working with my fellow Board Members to address staff support and appreciation.

2. 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?

I always strive to find the best role for my skills and talents when working as part of a team. At the same time, I speak up to share my observations, opinions, and reasoning during discussions and decision-making and unreservedly support group decisions that result from the Board’s deliberative process.

In addition to cooperative Board leadership training, I have completed additional financial training for directors and recently taken on the role of Board Treasurer. I am excited to work with co-op leadership and my fellow Board Members to evaluate the co-op’s financial health and future return to profitability.

In my position in the Agricultural Development Division at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, I manage federal grants awarded to my organization, as well as grants to nonprofits, farms, and other small businesses. This work involves creating and managing budgets and reviewing expenditures, as well as working one-on-one with farmers and organizations to support completion of their 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.

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

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. I have previously worked with many community organizations, including serving as a member of a food buying club in Chicago that later developed into the Dill Pickle Food Co-op.

During my past year and a half on the Board, I participated in an exploratory committee to consider ways to increase Member participation and interest in running for the Board. I conducted interviews with Board Members from other co-ops to learn more about their election and appointment processes. This work led to the recent formation of a pilot Board perpetuation committee that will offer co-op Members the opportunity to learn more about Board service and recruit potential Board candidates.

4. 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. City Market and the Board must maintain a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in operations and governance, sustain and advance staff support and appreciation, and continue to work toward a return to profitability. I remain committed to addressing these opportunities and challenges in my second term on the Board.