Dr. Eric Jacobson
 
 
1. Please introduce yourself.
 
My name is Eric Jacobson and my member number is 16. I became a Co-op member sometime in the mid-1980s but I have lived the last 20 years in Europe, studying and working as a university professor. I returned to Vermont with my partner and six-year-old son, and we now live on College Street in Montpelier. I studied at Goddard College and the Institute for Social Ecology, followed by a few years in New York at Columbia University in the Psychiatry Department before leaving for Berlin, Germany, where I completed a PhD. I speak several languages and taught philosophy and religion as a tenured faculty member in London. I have served as a board member of research institutes and university committees, and as head of department for national universities with fiduciary responsibilities to the public. But my real experience with co-ops stems from Berlin where I was a member of a co-op language school organized by the language teachers themselves (babylonia.de). I have been involved in political affinity groups from a very early age.

2. Why are you interested in serving on the council?

Hunger Mountain Co-op is one of the great people-first institutions in Vermont. I left 20 years ago and returned to find the Co-op stronger and healthier than ever. I rely on the Co-op to provide access to high quality and organic food, to promote regional and local foods, and to seek out regional food sources where possible. I rely on the Co-op to support local agriculture, to take a little bite out of the food industry by keeping Vermont producers and consumers in direct contact with each other. I’ve relied on the Co-op for more than 30 years and feel it is my time to give back to the community. That is why I am interested in serving on the council.
 
3.What strengths and skills would you bring to the council?

I have experience overseeing public budgets and can work with financial and statistical data. I like working with people, setting targets and trying to reach them together.
 
4.What do you think are the most important opportunities and challenges that you see in our co-op’s future?

With the growth and expansion of the heath food industry, the recent availability of low quality organic products at commercial markets, the Amazon-Whole Foods takeover and the expansion of internet ordering, I am concerned for the coop and want to help prepare for the next 20 years. I want my son to be able to enjoy the Co-op, along with the other public institutions and alternative cultures that make Vermont the wonderful place that it is. The large national and international conglomerates are knocking on the door of the health food sector. Cost of living is generally high in Vermont as we all know. What can we do to continue to keep local resources local? Is there anything that can be done to reduce the costs of credit card transactions? Membership continues to grow, but growth in sales has been hovering at 1% for several years. Too many friends feel that they must do some or all of their shopping at the commercial markets. What can we do to continue to bring in new members to the Co-op, and to make some of the basics more accessible? Member-ownership and worker’s rights mean a lot to me. What can we do to support our Co-op staff, reduce injury and give them the kind of support and dignity they need? As a member of the council, it is my hope to serve as a fiduciary in terms of both the continued economic health of the coop, but also, and most importantly, the ethical aims and goals of the Co-op movement and Mutual Aid.
 

  

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