I joined the Board of Directors in late 2014 because I was looking for an opportunity to use the corporate governance/corporate secretary skills from my day job in a meaningful way to help a community-focused organization. Specifically, I was looking to volunteer in Stapleton, where my family lives and where my kids go to school (Denver School of the Arts).
What I found when I joined Nourish’s board was an amazing (and fun) group of people with a variety of skill sets united by one goal: opening a community-owned grocery store to serve northeast Denver. I have learned so much about food co-ops, traditional grocery stores, commercial real estate, our community and the communities around us, and at every step of the way I have been inspired by those involved in this project. Like any small business venture, Nourish started out as the recognition of a need or gap in services provided in our community, an organic grocery store. But then something truly remarkable happened. Instead of spending another summer complaining about the current grocery store, moaning about the then-fictional grocery to be built in Eastbridge, or day dreaming about a national organic grocery chain reworking its economic modeling and magically “approving” our neighborhoods as worthy, the group of neighbors that founded Nourish took matters into their own hands. They vowed to do something to fill that gap by opening a community-owned grocery store. How awesome is that? And how cool are these neighbors of ours that took that vision and turned it into a series of actions that have led us to this point?
I like doers. People who follow up their talk with action. And that is the thing that makes me most proud to be involved with Nourish Community Market – it is a community of doers. People who make the effort to lend their time, their professional skills, and their thoughtful suggestions to an endeavor that benefits the greater good of our community. Is it imperfect? Of course. Does it seem frustratingly slow? Sometimes. (Btw – this is how opening a business looks when you don’t have the deep pockets of a national brand behind you). But what an amazing example for our kids, our community, our neighbors and our city of creating a solution to our problem (lack of grocery store options). This can be done, and we can do it for ourselves.
There is no shortage of things to worry about in this world. There are important issues facing our community, our city and our country. It can often feel overwhelming, but by supporting a community-based endeavor like Nourish, we gain the opportunity to help define what type of community we are. We get to see our efforts pay off in a tangible way. Let’s put our slogans and yard signs and tag phrases into action. Let’s walk the walk. Let’s practice what we preach. Talk less and do more. Let’s build a grocery store that WE own, that is an inclusive and vibrant reflection of northeast Denver.
I’ll be following Nourish from the east coast and look forward to seeing you all at the ribbon cutting!
-Jackie Hill, Member-owner #381