Joshua Richards

2011 Board Elections Candidate Statement:

1. Tell us about yourself, work, beliefs and values and include your experiences and accomplishments with any of the SPFC organizing committees?
I bought a house in South Philadelphia three years ago, and since moving in with my then-girlfriend and two cats, I have gotten married, adopted a puppy, and welcomed a daughter (in that order). I guess I got involved with the co-op for reasons both selfish and selfless—I was (and am, always) looking for ways to get fresher, tastier, and more interesting food, but I also count active engagement with the community among best things ordinary people can do to promote a nice environment for everyone to live in.

2. Why do you value Cooperatives?
My day job is as a litigator at a big law firm. I’ve served on the Legal/Finance Committee since its first meeting, and have taken on some leadership in getting us incorporated and, in a truly collaborative process, drafting up the co-op’s bylaws. Lining up all of our ducks for incorporation was a great experience, not least of all because of all the connections I made drawing on other folks’ experiences starting other co-ops.

3. What is your definition of a Cooperative?
The appeal—and definition—of cooperatives, for me, is the focus on quality over profit. What I mean by that is that a cooperative’s sole purpose should be to become the best cooperative it can be for its members. Of course that doesn’t mean the business doesn’t need to do well to stay open, but doing well at the register isn’t the point—the point is doing good for the membership. And who wouldn’t like that?

4. What is your vision of growth for a South Philly Food Cooperative?
My vision is a co-op where I can buy fresh, tasty, sustainable food and know that every time I do, I’m supporting something that’s improving my community. I’d like it to grow to a point where it’s the only place I need to shop for groceries and can serve as an anchor for all kinds of positive growth.

The rest of the candidate statements are available here.

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