The Future of Sundance

Our trustworthy business,
Sundance Natural Foods,
is now entrusted to the
Sundance Perpetual Purpose Stewardship Trust.

On October 18, 2023, Gavin McComas donated his ownership of Sundance Natural Foods to the newly formed Sundance Perpetual Purpose Stewardship Trust (SPPST).

This trust is now responsible for Sundance Natural Foods (SNF), which includes Sundance Wine Cellars and Sundance Kitchen. Trusted stewards now oversee Sundance to ensure it always and forever fulfills its mission and values. As before, all profits will remain in the business to take care of staff and infrastructure.

Both ancient wisdom and contemporary science teach us that everything is alive and interdependent. We have both a moral and a practical responsibility to take this reality into account in everything we do as individuals and as a community. Human beings survive and thrive to the extent that we take care of each other, work together for the common good, enjoy each other’s company and live in respectful, appreciative harmony with the natural world and all the forms of life that inhabit it.

Sundance’s Values

In order to fulfill our mission, we are inspired and guided by the following values:

    1. Geborgenheit – There is no equivalent word in English. Geborgenheit refers to the feeling of security and affirmation that can come from being safely nested in a cozy place where we feel comfortable relaxing and being ourselves. The epitome of Geborgenheit is a baby’s experience of being lovingly cradled in mother’s arms. A more directly relevant example is the homey familiarity of a neighborhood pub or coffee shop. Places where our individuality is accepted and we experience a sense of belonging are especially important in our time when isolation, alienation and loneliness are so widespread. In support of Sundance’s mission to be “individuals nourishing community nourishing individuals,” we want our spaces to feel physically and emotionally safe, inclusive, hospitable and friendly. We aspire to create a welcoming ambience that nourishes both individuality and community. We want the atmosphere of Geborgenheit to resonate throughout Sundance. When we feel that our individual personhood is acknowledged and accepted, we are able to be more fully present to enjoy life, interact spontaneously, and wholeheartedly engage in our work. In the spirit of reciprocity, Sundance provides the hospitality of Geborgenheit with the expectation that all who share our spaces will be considerate guests so that we can sustain the energetic conditions conducive to good vibrations.
    2. Reciprocity – Reciprocity is a foundational value. Sociologically, the survival of our species depends on people taking care of each other and working together for the common good.  The Ethic of Reciprocity, commonly known as the Golden Rule, therefore evolved to become the basic operating principle and moral precept of all healthy communities. Environmentally, human beings need to be conscientious in relationship to the ecosphere on which our survival depends. We reap what we sow. At Sundance, we practice reciprocity by taking the best possible care of our staff and customers, with the expectation that they will take care of Sundance as best they can. When we are grateful for the gift of life, the beauty and bounty of nature and the collaborative and caring companionship of others, it is natural to reciprocate by being appreciative, supportive, and kind in return. At Sundance, we want all of our interactions to be relational as well as transactional. Human beings developed empathy so we can understand how others feel and compassion so we will care about the wellbeing of others. When we attune ourselves to our fundamental kinship with all other creatures on this planet, we are naturally motivated to be kind. Sundance carefully considers how any action we might take could potentially harm or benefit other people and other life forms, knowing that everything is alive, including the ecosphere itself. With the principle of reciprocity in mind, Sundance prioritizes products and business practices that do the most good and the least harm, now and in the future. Our standards of staff performance and behavior and our decisions regarding compensation and benefits are all grounded in fairness and equity. We believe that being human, we need to be humane. Because we are kin, we need to be kind. Reciprocity is a fundamental principle of life. What goes around, comes around.
    3. Comradery – Comradery is the feeling of mutual trust, respect, good will, friendliness and belonging among people who enjoy working together with a common purpose and shared values. In order to enthusiastically participate in the group’s mission, each member needs to have their individuality accepted and appreciated. Comradery reinforces our dedication to Sundance’s mission and values and to doing our jobs well because we don’t want to let our friends down. Evolution rewards collaborative companionship by releasing feel-good chemicals when we take care of each other and work together for the common good. We also experience comradery when we play, sing, dance, joke, tell stories, listen to music, attend theatrical events, share meals, and spend time together in nature. These activities are intrinsically enjoyable, affirm our individual worthiness and reinforce our sense of belonging. Our mission to be “individuals nourishing community nourishing individuals” encompasses socializing and playing as well as working together.
    4. Eudaimonia –Aristotle created the concept of eudaimonia to explain the deeply rooted, fulfilling type of happiness that can result from living an authentic, purposeful, creative, socially responsible, values-based life. While hedonic happiness stems from personally pleasurable temporary experiences, eudaimonic happiness is the durable, ongoing experience of flourishing and fulfillment that comes from being kind, generous and altruistic, artistically and philosophically creative as well as from being conscientiously engaged in contributing to the well-being of the community and the ecosphere. Human beings evolved to feel good when we do good. At Sundance, our wholehearted dedication to our mission and values can bring each of us an ongoing experience of eudaimonic happiness.When we nourish, we flourish.

The Responsibilities and Organization of the Sundance Perpetual Purpose Stewardship Trust

The executive function of Sundance is now carried out by a Trust Stewardship Committee (TSC), consisting of at least 3 and no more than 5 members. When one member leaves, the other members will choose a successor from candidates with at least 5 years of experience working at Sundance.

The initial members of the TSC are Andrea Pierce, Sundance’s produce manager, David Resseguie, Information Systems Coordinator and assistant to the General Manager and Gavin.  Andrea has been at Sundance for 22 years, David for 39 years, and Gavin for 40 years.

As General Manager, Gavin will continue to oversee the operation of Sundance.

The Trust Stewardship Committee is responsible for making sure that Sundance remains financially viable and continues to operate according to the mission and values described above.

As was the case during Gavin’s ownership, any and all profits generated by Sundance, will remain in Sundance, to take care of the staff and infrastructure.

The TSC’s specific responsibilities are to:

  • define the duties and responsibilities of the General Manager;
  • hire and supervise future General Managers;
  • confirm the GM’s selection of department managers;
  • initiate or approve of any major purchases or changes to infrastructure;
  • initiate or approve of any policy changes.

 

On Stewardship:

The Sundance Perpetual Purpose Stewardship Trust protects the continuity of Sundance Natural Foods as a business grounded in the knowledge that everything is alive and interdependent. Sundance aspires to affirm our interconnectedness, encourage reciprocity, nurture collaborative companionship, facilitate Geborgenheit and support individual flourishing.

Sundance is rooted in the natural food movement’s mission to transition away from the current food system’s unjust and unsustainable exploitation of the natural world and the people who grow, prepare and distribute our food. We need to return to the environmental stewardship, cooperative companionship, kindness, compassion and generosity that have, until very recently in the history of our species, been vital to our individual and collective health and happiness.

Since we are all mortal, any form of ownership is actually only temporary possession. This is why stewardship is such an important concept. We have a responsibility to take care of what we will eventually pass on to others when we pass on. Our sense of community needs to include the generations that will follow us. The burden of this responsibility is instinctively out-weighed by the love we have for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Whether we have our own children or not, it is natural to want those who follow us to live good lives in a beautiful, beneficent and bountiful world.

Stewardship is an intrinsically hopeful approach to life, especially necessary in these challenging times of climate change and social injustice. Our commitment to the future of Sundance demonstrates our belief that there will be a viable future for today’s youth and the generations to follow.

We can derive an inspiring sense of purpose and a satisfying sense of fulfillment from being conscientious stewards of all that is in our purview.  Identifying with the continuity of our community, our species and our ecosphere can provide us with a comforting form of immortality. After “I” am gone, “we” will continue.

The Sundance Perpetual Purpose Stewardship Trust is our way of manifesting our love for all those who will work and shop at Sundance in generations to come.

David (TSC member), Gavin (TSC member), Dani (Trustee) and Andrea (TSC member), signing the SPPST into existence on 10/18/2023