Message from the Board
Updated: Oct 23
Dear Coop Owners & Shoppers,
Harmony’s mission is to provide for “the common health of our community.” Living that mission is a balancing act that needs to be struck intentionally to ensure that we mean it when we say “Everyone Welcome” at Harmony. If we define “common” too narrowly, as only plant-eaters for example, we exclude a huge fraction of omnivores in our community that also believe in sustainable practices.
One of the hallmarks of the Harmony shopping experience is that “Everyone Welcome” is alive and well in our aisles. That wasn’t true at least a decade ago. Talk to anyone who has lived in Bemidji for at least 10 years, and you’ll hear that there used to be “Coop People” and “Others” as part of Harmony’s history. Since moving in to the new store in 2011, we’ve worked hard as an organization to live up to the “Everyone Welcome” posted on our front doors. Our customer service reviews and the stories we tell each other around the water coolers we used to gather around let us know that we mean it now when we greet you at the door.
Yet, we’re at a bit of a crossroads as many of the public spaces in which we interact are each defining ‘common health’ in their own way. Some business are taking public health guidance several steps further to manage their shared surfaces and spaces. Some are doing the required minimum for their level of community spread. Many of us, as consumers, are a bit disoriented about just what is the best way to minimize contagion during this time.
In order to sustain the “Everyone Welcome” spirit, we’re trusting the management and staff to continue to define for us what “common health” means while shopping at Harmony. They will, just like they have these past months, keep us abreast of how we need to modify our shopping habits in order to provide for our ‘common health.’
Our management and staff has always been educated, diligent, and responsive at teaching us about the foods we eat. Accordingly, we, as the Harmony board, have the utmost faith they will continue to shepherd us through whatever changes we need to make in order to ensure our ‘common health’ in a way that preserves the yellow “Everyone Welcome” posted above our doors.