Kristian Connolly

A member-owner for nearly a decade, I'm an unschooling dad and part-time graduate student in Native American Studies, focusing on Federal Indian Law and Decolonization Studies. I've been a Communications professional for nonprofit advocacy orgs and pro sports teams/leagues, as well as a pro baseball scout, and have worked remotely since 2004. Most recently, I worked for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, focusing on the non-human, human, and environmental harms of industrial agriculture and the food system, while also helping organize the first staff union at a national animal advocacy nonprofit in the U.S. 

My partner is an unschooling mom and Clinical Herbalist-in-training at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, located on the Goddard College campus. Our daughter is a 12-year-old unschooler with a variety of interests, including recognizing and fighting injustice, lies, hypocrisy, and abuse of power. Which is why she fully supports her dad's candidacy for the Co-op Council. Together, we try our best to live a low-impact, low-key life that revolves around being together, being outdoors, food -- meat-free, dairy-free, nearly entirely plant-based and focused on organic, clean whole foods made from scratch as much as possible -- and trying to live as authentically as we would like to for ourselves and for the planet. 

I've served on municipal boards, chairing one for two years. As a member-owner, I've been advocating for the Co-op to live up to its mission and meet the health and well-being needs of all community members, focusing on food insecurity, equity in access for all, and good public health decisions. I want the Co-op to practice community care, be a leader and model, live its stated values and not the values of late-stage American corporatized capitalism, and truly be welcoming to all. 

A regular at Council meetings, I've monitored and questioned Council governance, behavior, and ethics. I've also learned about the challenges faced by the dedicated team of non-management Co-op staff, and I'm committed to including staff considerations while performing my role as a Council member. Overall, my motivation for serving includes bringing about a complete Council overhaul, cutting all Council ties with the current Council regime and the Kari Bradley management regime of the past 19 years.  

In addition to doing what being a Council member requires for our Co-op, I'll bring two important experiences to a Council (and Co-op upper management) that currently lacks such voices: Representing users of the Curbside program, and, as an EBT/SNAP participant, advocating for the Co-op to meet the needs of people who feel the Co-op is out of their range economically and/or socially. We have the power to change that narrative by being who we say we are. 

The most immediate and near-future challenge facing our Co-op is the current Council -- both its lack of principled leadership and its historical deference to Co-op upper management on practically every subject. The most important opportunity, therefore, is the opportunity to change that structure. It needed to change yesterday, but we have to start somewhere, and now is that time. Anything short of change will result in the entrenched, corporate Co-op structure continuing to plow ahead unchecked, leading us all further away from our values, our ethics, and our beliefs -- not only about what we are as a Co-op, but who we are as individual human beings, and who we are as a community. 

Has what you've learned about our Co-op over the past few months reflected your values and principles? Does it reflect the values and principles that our Co-op's Bylaws say our Co-op is guided by? Values like self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity? Honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others? Principles like democratic member control, with membership that actively participates in setting Co-op policies and making decisions? An elected Council that is accountable to membership? 

If not, then please join the call for change. 
View Kristian's video here.

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