What do you love about BriarPatch Food Co-Op?
I love that BriarPatch Food Co-op provides healthy, delicious food, is a major supporter and contributor to our local economy, and serves as a significant community hub. It’s refreshing and exciting to be an Owner of a business that prioritizes more than just the bottom line. I appreciate the level of commitment BriarPatch has in sourcing produce, meat, and other products from local farmers, ranchers and makers. I love knowing that when I shop at the BriarPatch the money I spend there is getting re-circulated throughout our local economy at a much higher rate than other regional or national stores with corporate offices elsewhere. During this time right now when people are so connected to screens and disconnected from their community, I love how I can go get groceries and most of the time run into a friend or two at the store. Speaking of community, I appreciate how the business donates such a significant amount of money, food, and in-kind contributions to countless local organizations each year. Lastly, but certainly not least, I enjoy the delicious pre-made deli options and made to order ones, as well as the produce, bulk bins, dairy, and more throughout the store. I know whatever food I do not have from the farm I’ll be able to find at the Co-op.
Why are you running for the BriarPatch Food Co-op Board?
I am running for the BriarPatch Board so that I can contribute my skills and knowledge in local food systems and farming towards the greater mission of the board work. We have a diverse group of directors currently and I believe that I help represent some segments of our community such as farmers, woman business-owners, and the younger generations. As a farmer I have worked at different scale farms locally and know a large number of the local farmers. Farmers face a long list of external challenges to their business, one of which is markets to sell their products. As a farmer advocate on the board I will support and continue to help expand market opportunities for farmers. I am also running for the board because I have experience in the food and farming space at the state and federal levels and see an opportunity to help contribute knowledge from that work at the local level in board work at the Co-op. I am running to continue serving on the board because I deeply care about the future direction of the business and would like to help guide the organization forward into our next evolution. Finally, I am running for the board because I want to be involved in the local community and I have the time, ability, and interest in serving our Co-op.
Why will you make a good Board Director?
For nearly a decade I have worked in numerous positions within the food and farming world and through that hands-on experience I have gained useful skills and knowledge to contribute towards the board’s work. I have co-managed a local 20-acre organic vegetable farm (Mountain Bounty Farm). I also run my own small farm and business called Seed & Gather. Seed & Gather grows crops that are preserved into unique “farm crafted” products such as dried flower wreath kits, body butters, and canned goods. I have spent the last four years working for a statewide non-profit called Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). As the Senior Manager for Farmer Services at CAFF, I work with farmers across the state to guide them through complicated regulatory requirements and direct them to business development resources. In addition to that for-profit and non-profit experience I also have relevant academic experience. I completed a graduate degree from the University of California Berkeley in Public Health Nutrition. My research and study was focused on local and regional food systems and food and agricultural policy. That for-profit, non-profit, and academic experience, paired with the nearly three years I have already spent serving on the BriarPatch Board of Directors prepares me well to continue to be an engaged and effective director.