Submitted by Ned Depew, staff member, worker owner, and Board member:
I posted this on the Facebook page (“Let’s talk HWFC”) and Rebecca Tell requested that I repost it here:
while I’m unhappy about the controversy that has sparked these conversations, I am heartened by the enthusiasm, interest and energy which so many members are investing in the Co-op.
We clearly don’t all agree on how to deal with these issues. The gap in our balance sheet created by our debt load and slower than expected sales growth, as well as how to respond to the perceived threat our counsel – in reviewing our by-laws – have told us the MLP may represent, are real, and we must find a way to respond.
I do believe that the membership has the intelligence, commitment, expertise and awareness to find creative and collaborative ways to meet these challenges, and I welcome this upsurge in member participation.
I am concerned that people may be hoping for simple, easy solutions to these problems, which – having studied them for some time – I do not believe exist. Building a Co-op, and a new Co-operative economy is a long-term process, that will be full of challenges and even mistakes. As Einstein said: “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
We need to be committed to understanding the difficulty of what we are attempting, investing the energy and attention required, forgiving ourselves and each other for our mistakes, and focusing on coming together to reach our goals.
I hope these conversations, and others we will be having in coming days will foster that kind of sincere, respectful, creative collaboration, as it did when the Co-op was first starting forty years ago. We are the heirs of forty years of effort, which we’ve brought forward daringly and excitingly. We have to work together – from the values that unite us rather than divide us – to move forward.