Glorious Organics is a workers’ co-operative with six co-owner-members and about 8 seasonal employees. The land on which most of us both live and work is owned by Fraser Common Farm Co-operative. We rely heavily on lots of communication, collaboration, respect and good will and we make decisions by a kind of consensus. That’s a LOT of “co-ing”! It’s not always easy, super efficient or even fun – but when Najai leaves the first raspberries of the season on my desk or David drops off sun-blessed figs or the basil patch gets impeccably weeded or Sean manages to Craigs’- List the stryofoam boxes we stocked up on to ship to our only out of province customer who dropped us early in the season . . . . well, most of the petty stuff goes in the compost and the Good Cheer sunflowers along the drive set the tone for the inevitable unknowables to come.
We affectionately call our leadership/management style “amorphous cohesion” and with that many opinions on almost everything, amorphousness frequently trumps cohesion.
At the beginning of the season we optimistically work through our “Captains’ Papers” spreadsheet and figure out who will be responsible for eacht aspect of our business. A captain is not expected to DO everything they’ve signed up for, but they ARE expected to either “Do it or cause it to be done”. That happens in March.
By this time of year the crispness of these intentions is often compromised by things like never-ending drought, family situations, fatigue, and other important considerations like climate change, spiritual practice, and the seed growers co-op that get back-burnered during the peak growing season.
David is our Seed Captain. And with so much “amorphous cohesion” going on, trying to protect the seed crops from the other cash crops can be very challenging. Like when those cucumbers that would have been fine to put in the CSA boxes three days ago, but didn’t get picked then, and could have been a good seed crop now that they’re over ripe, but they did get picked! But we’ve got some handy fluorescent flags now and the never ending quest for the perfect labeling systems has devolved to just making do with what’s available in the moment.