Nine Years and Counting @ CGIN

Nine years ago, at the 1997 CCMA (Consumer Cooperative Management Association) conference in Alexandria, Va., a workshop was held to discuss how co-ops could use the World Wide Web to strengthen their operations. This year, on the ninth anniversary of that date, the members of the association that came out of that session, now called CGIN—Cooperative Grocers’ Information Network—met together to review the status of our network.

The CGIN website continues to see changes and improvements, which we hope make it easier to use. Changes made in the past twelve months include:

  • Interactive job posting system—so that
    co-ops and organizations can now directly post their own listings. (This applies to individuals looking for co-op jobs, as well.)
  • An “e-mail notification” service so that those looking for co-op jobs can get an email every time a new job is posted to the site.
  • Contributor profiles—so those reviewing materials can learn more about the size and scope of the co-op that sent in the items.
  • An online password retrieval system to make it easier for members who forget their password.
  • Further refinement of the classification of items in the “basic resource library” to include more subtopics and make it easier to find like materials.
  • A new specialized listserve for co-op HR managers and professionals.

Speaking of CGIN listserves: at the time of our annual meeting, we were in the process of upgrading the software that runs our listserves. The Human Resources and “M&M” (membership and marketing staff) listserves have been upgraded. An additional upgrade to the open “CGIN-list” will be made in June of this year and will enhance the way the listserves function and appear to most users, while maintaining our archives and search capability.

At this year’s CGIN meeting, we were also able to announce that we have now posted a major upgrade to the Co-op Livable Wage model. Given the extent of the changes made to the earlier versions of this model, we are calling it “version 2.0”—for a description of what has changed with this model, see: (member login required).

CGIN’s annual meetings tend to be pretty lively events (at least by most annual meeting standards), and this year was no exception. Once again, members eagerly and generously pledged their support in many ways. This year, those who made such pledges received CGIN luggage tags.

Through their pledges, CGIN members promised to contribute over $1,600 to our scholarship fund; these funds allow CGIN to offer a discount on the cost of annual membership to small co-ops, consistent with our commitment to making sure that all who want to join can. In addition, members pledged to send in hundreds of new items to our website—items for the basic resource library, new deli recipes, and at least five new photo gallery exhibits. I know you all join me in looking forward to seeing these additions as they’re submitted and posted to the site.

For those of you unable to make it to our most recent annual meeting in Atlanta, other highlights included election of Deirdrie Lang (Kootenay Country Co-op of Nelson, B.C.) and John Eichholz (Greenfields Market of Greenfields, Mass.) to the board of directors. We also extended thanks to Kelly Wiseman for his years of service on the CGIN board.

We’ve been lucky to add some great new items to our online resource library lately. Here’s a sampling of what’s new:

  • a manual on conducting an effective investigation
  • an employee incentive program
  • a committee charter for a “green committee” to help reduce the co-op’s environmental impact in its operating practices
  • a consumer cookbook for getting more iron in the diet
  • materials to use in working with local farmers
  • many new newsletter articles on a variety of topics

Our “basic resource library” now contains over 1,100 high-quality, interesting items that can save your co-op time and give you a hand in improving your systems. There’s always plenty to check out on our site, And it’s available to you any time, 24/7!

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