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Voting is Now Open!
It’s Time to Choose Your New Board Members
Yes, it’s that time again— time to elect your new Co-op Board Members! This year we have 9 candidates running for 4 open seats on the Natural Harvest Board of Directors.
We asked each candidate about their interest in becoming a Co-op Board member (see answers below).
Use the ballot to select your choices for open Board Member positions. Ballots must reach the Co-op by Friday, April 13th. If you happen to miss this deadline you will be allowed to submit your ballot at the Annual Meeting on April 14th. One vote per Owner number, please. We’ll have a ballot box at the front of the store, or you can choose to mail your ballot. New Board members will be announced at the Annual Meeting.
1. Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of Natural Harvest Food Co-op?
2. Describe any volunteer or paid experiences relevant to your service as a co-op board member. What skills or experience will you bring to the board?
3. What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future of Natural Harvest Food Co-op?
4. Other Comments.
Ballots must reach the Co-op by 4/13/18. If you miss the deadline your last chance to vote will be at the Annual Meeting on 4/14/18.
If you have any questions about the election process or what the Board does please contact our current Board Members at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1.) I like the theory behind co-ops, owner owned, people have a say in how it works. You’re a part of it!
2.) Food shelf, churches… I’ve helped people my whole life.
3.) Well, there are new things coming up all the time. Wherever people are interested in good clean nutritious food, events that promote healthy living, the co-op can have a role to play in it.
4.) …and it’s a lot of fun.
1.) We live in a time where there is great need for people to make food choices that benefit both their body and the Earth. The Natural Harvest Food Co-op promotes sustainability and environmental stewardship as well as providing our community with nutritious foods. These are values that I hold as well and I want to be part of an organization that shares these values.
2.) I served as a board member to Ely Community Resource in Ely, MN in 2009 and 2010 and participated in organizing fundraisers, strategic planning, and hiring of the new and the current executive director. I’ve volunteered in our schools and as a cross-country running and ski coach. My family participates in Virginia’s community gardens and we grow more of our own produce in our own home garden. I own a small crafting business, have worked in restaurants in the area, and am a mom of three young children, all of which have taught me skills that will help me be a valuable member of the board. My educational background in Anthropology and Nursing provided me a foundation in cultural understanding and compassion.
3.) The Natural Harvest Food Co-op has the opportunity to provide nutritious food to a wider range of people, supporting local and organic farmers and promoting environmental conservation. It also provides a lovely atmosphere for people to gather and connect, learning and growing together. Diversity of product and maintaining and growing a larger customer base could be a challenge as well as selling products at prices that a diverse range of people can afford.
4.) This Co-op has provided my family with delicious local, organic, fresh and healthy foods for many years, both when we lived here in Virginia, and also when we lived in Ely. I’ve been proud to have the Co-op in my community and have enjoyed watching it grow and expand. I hope for the opportunity to serve this Co-op and help it thrive for years to come.
1.) I would be grateful for the opportunity to learn and participate as a board member of Natural Harvest Food Co-op. As a lifelong student, I find the cooperative model inspiring and I would love to learn more about this win-win approach and apply it to co-op endeavors. I am excited to serve in accordance with the Policy Governance model and be part of a team of individuals advocating for the sustainability of our food, community and planet!
2.) Most recently I have been working with my siblings transitioning our family business from a sole proprietorship into a partnership. Over the past five years, I’ve taken a deep dive into creating and implementing systems for operations, human resources and sales. I feel fortunate to have the experiences of both creating and implementing, as I am able to receive feedback, reflect on systems and improve. From this role I’ve learned to be a more patient, solutions-oriented, team player! In conjunction with this position, I host various classes and community events and serve on the board of the Lake Vermillion Resort Association as an advisor for Lake Vermillion area tourism and sustainability efforts.
3.) Ultimately, developing a community that understands the needs and has both the desire and capacity to serve through Natural Harvest’s endeavors will be both the opportunity and challenge. Externally, our Co-op will continue to be faced with the ever-evolving political, social and economic landscape we reside in. Natural Harvest has the opportunity to be at the forefront and take on a greater role in the planning and development of our community. It is beautiful because this is the heart of cooperatives: separate entities working together for mutually beneficial relationships! Internally, the opportunities and challenges will stem from each individual employee and member’s journey of growth and evolution. Our ability to be proactive, to search for new perspectives and continuously recreate both our work and ourselves will determine our success.
4.) I am an avid plant-based, raw food supporter, committed to the whole and natural foods movement. I didn’t come from a family who had a healthy relationship with food; and, it wasn’t until I was an adult that its importance became apparent. I did know I wanted to help people. Deep inside, I knew food was fundamental. So much so, that at the age of 5, I proclaimed my future occupation as a cook! Making the change to an organic, whole, plant-based foods lifestyle continues to be one of the most rewarding decisions of my life. I’m not a chef yet, but I do love preparing and sharing food and am continually inspired by local, organic foods available at co-ops like Natural Harvest.
1.) I would like to serve on the Board of Directors of Natural Harvest Food Co-op by bringing my knowledge and energy to the table.
2.) I have volunteer experience with being in I.R.Y.A (Iron Range Youth in Action) and with Habitat for Humanity.
3.) For the future of Natural Harvest I see us impacting the community towards healthy living by giving them the tools and knowledge.
1.) I want to serve on the Board of Directors for Natural Harvest because I strongly believe in community and am very interested in ensuring high quality products remain available for everyone.
2.) I have served on several boards in the past; including holding the office of treasurer and president. I am currently employed as a supervisor and have worked with many different cultures, socioeconomic statues and take a “people first” stance. I hold a doctorate degree in psychology and have volunteered for decades with Special Olympics. I am currently not sitting on a board and have time to give.
3.) The opportunities and challenges ahead for the Natural Harvest may include keeping membership strong and continuing to bring high quality products at a manageable price to the community. I am excited to see the classes and other informational meetings offered and believe this can grow. The new building is very nice and seems to be spacious enough to sustain the Co-op for many years to come.
4.) I believe in the Co-op.
1.) I am very excited for the opportunity to be on the Natural Harvest Board of Directors. I have been a customer and member of the Co-op for many years. One thing that I enjoy the most about the Co-op is the sense of community it brings to our area. I can feel this every time I am in the store. Our Co-op is making a lasting footprint in our area. I am so proud to be a member, and watch it continue to grow. Not only with the addition of the new building, but new programs, classes, and local products. I feel this is a wonderful opportunity for me to expand my love of the Co-op and help it continue to grow and develop as a vital resource to the community.
2.) As a Board member I would bring five plus years of experience as Vice President of the Eveleth-Gilbert Football Boosters. During my role as Vice President we raised over $30,000 in one year to purchase a much-needed score board for our facility. This was made possible by many generous donations from our community and local businesses, and lot of hard work from our boosters. I understand the importance of community involvement and investment. I am currently a Supervisor at Blue Cross Blue Shield. I would bring a great understanding of conducting a constructive and diplomatic meeting environment, as this is part of my daily responsibilities. The best part of my job is collaborating with several different areas daily to reach common goals.
3.) I am very excited about the future of Natural Harvest Co-op. I feel that continuing to be a valuable and respected presence within the community could be one of the greatest challenges. Maintaining a strong community bond while growing the member base will also bring areas of opportunity. I feel continuing to be open and creative on how to keep the Co-op moving forward is a very exciting prospect and I hope to be part of this for years to come!
1.) I would like to serve on the Board of Directors because I love Natural Harvest, simply put. The store has opened my eyes on how it’s possible to choose healthy options and provide my family with a more diverse choice when it comes to snacking and mealtimes. I appreciate that local produce is sold through the store and it makes me feel more in control of where my money goes and who it’s benefiting. I feel it’s important to give back to those businesses that give so much to our community.
2.) My current role as President of East Range Rotary has made me realize how much work can be done in the community when a small group of people come together. It has strengthened my skills when it comes to working together as a team and making the sometimes hard decisions when needed. I believe this experience will help me on the Board and I’m excited to see what else I can learn.
3.) It’s hard for me to answer what opportunities/challenges may face the Co-op in the future, as my experience with the Co-op has only been on the member side. That said, I feel like more people are looking for information to be available both virtually and in-store. I like the direction the Co-op has taken with social media and I think another opportunity may be to offer classes online, for those members or customers that may not be able to make it into the store.
1.) I would like to serve on the Board of Directors of Natural Harvest Food Co-op because I believe in the values that the co-op promotes. Healthy organic living, investment in local farmers and businesses, democracy, and social responsibility are important and even vital in our society. I would like to play a more significant role in sharing these ideas with our community.
2.) I would bring a variety of life experiences to the role of Board member. I have been a member of The Natural Harvest Food Co-op since we moved to Virginia nine years ago. Prior to moving to the Iron Range, I was an employee and a member of the Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth and a volunteer at a local CSA farm in Twig. I have seen the value of natural living first hand, and the impact it has on individuals and families. I understand the variety of reasons that people shop at co-ops such as special diets, sustainability and food sensitivities.
3.) In the coming years, the co-op faces challenges from the wider availability of organic products from a variety of sources. Many items that previously were only available at a natural grocery store are now available online and in big box retailers. Those other sources can’t compete with the co-op when it comes to having a knowledgeable, engaged, friendly staff, and the values that the organization brings to the table every day. In an increasingly competitive space, the people are the key ingredient that keeps us competitive. Natural Harvest Co-op is more than just ‘in’ the community. It is a part of the community. That is something that cannot be replicated or replaced by other retailers.
4.) Co-ops have been a part of my entire adult life. They have played a role in raising my two children in a healthy and sustainable way. I would like to take the next step in my involvement by serving on the board of directors of this co-op.
1.) I believe the Co-op has an important and much needed presence in our community, as it is the only local store that specializes in providing healthful foods and products. It is important for Natural Harvest to continue to provide healthy options at affordable prices so excellent nutrition is available to all. I would enjoy putting my talents to use to help the Co-op continue to benefit the community members it is here to serve.
2.) I have held two positions that have been board overseen – Executive Director at Range Respite in Virginia, MN, for 4 years, and Administrator at Northern Life Care Center in International Falls, MN, for 2 years. I have served on various committees in churches I have attended. I understand the role of a governing board. My experience and skills include finance administration — budgeting, day-to-day financial record keeping, cash flow projections, and yearly audit/compilation preparation. I have experience in Strategic Planning as well overseeing the day to day operations of a business and the staff. Grant writing and program planning, development, and evaluation are also areas that I am experienced in. My experience in serving as Director/Administrator of non-profits gives me keen understanding and appreciation of the many hats the Director/Manager wears.
3.) I see an opportunity for continued growth in providing affordable options and education to the community, as well as an opportunity to grow membership of the Co-op, which will drive the ability to grow in services. The challenges I see are the same, just from a different view of “the glass”. Every challenge is an opportunity, and every opportunity has its challenges. Clear goals, focus, teamwork, commitment, and communication provide a secure foundation to build and grow upon.
4.) My interest in living a healthy lifestyle has grown over the years, and membership in the Co-op has fueled my passion for a healthy diet and personal care. I love the Co-op because it is simple — it has a good variety of quality foods and personal items that I can feel good about putting in and on my body, the staff are friendly and helpful, and the store is clean. I am happy to be a member of the Co-op and enjoy promoting it to family and friends.