We find it unfortunate that The Durango Herald engaged in sensationalist journalism by displaying an internal disagreement between the board of directors, some staff and some (relatively few) of the member/owners of Durango Natural Foods – on the front page of the newspaper (Aug. 25). The story, “Natural foods merger nixed,” implied that the entire membership is asking for the board to resign over its handling of a potential merger with a New Mexico cooperative market.
Nothing could be further from the truth. One sentence in particular misinforms readers about the degree of disapproval by DNF member/owners to engage in discussions about a potential merger with La Montanita Co-op: “Word arrived (of withdrawal of the merger offer) the day after the majority of an unprecedented turnout of DNF members appeared to favor independence.”
Many of us attended that meeting along with 60 or so interested member/owners. And yes, a few members did express opinions in a very loud or forceful way about losing local control over DNF if a merger were to go through. A few members voiced questions and were open to continuing discussions about the pros and cons of a possible merger. And still others expressed excitement about what a merger with a strong and successful regional food co-op might mean in support of DNF’s larger goals and values in our region. Alas, those who “favor independence” caught the attention of the Herald, and those more thoughtful and curious perspectives were not represented in the story.
As DNF member/owners we, along with many others, trust the integrity of the hardworking board when they say a legitimate process was sabotaged by the actions of a few member/owners and staff who chose to act outside of legitimate channels of cooperative communication. We urge those who care about a strong and vibrant co-op in Durango to learn the facts and not to believe the misinformation about the DNF board of directors’ intentions, transparency and legitimacy as well as other myths abundant around the merger discussions.
Carol Shepard, Jules Masterjohn, Steven Di Santo, Herb and Enid Brodsky, Janet and Russ Monell