Help shape our Co-op and the community in a big way. Highlights on the ballot include four open seats in the Whole Foods Co-op Board of Directors and an opportunity to use ranked choice voting to select GIVE round-up participants for 2021.
Your Elector ID is your owner number and your Password is the last name of the primary co-op owner. Please call 218-728-0884 with any questions. This information is also in your Fall 2020 Garbanzo Gazette. Voting is open until 9pm on Friday, October 16th.
NOTE: Paper ballot packets will be available at customer service (or can be mailed, if requested via phone). A completed packet includes the 2020 Election Guide, a paper ballot, two envelopes and very specific instructions for Owners using paper ballots to follow so that we can verify voter eligibility and ensure anonymity of the vote.
YOUR BOARD MEMBER CANDIDATES
Three Whole Foods Co-op Board Member seats are up for election. Learn more about our candidates below and vote by October 16th.
Please provide a brief statement of introduction/ bio I love trees and I love good food. I love food grown by people I know. I love snow and my solo canoe. I am not very good at art and poetry except as these disciplines apply to pruning trees. I believe it is not how long you have lived in a community that makes you a good candidate for a representative position, but rather the variety of ideas, experiences and perspectives you can add to the discussion.
Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Co-op? I wish to become more involved, more than just as a shopper. I have watched the Co-op grow and change since 1976 and am so impressed. I am intrigued by what the Board does and does not concern itself with, and find these parameters share similarities with practices like meditation and yoga. I am keen to engage in this practice with others on the Board.
Describe any volunteer or paid experiences relevant to your service as a Co-op Board member. What skills or experience will you bring to this Board? Before I left forestry to enter arboriculture in the private sector, I ran a state-wide continuing education program for forest resource professionals. This position required me to work with people representing different landowner groups, finding common ground while presenting new, sometimes challenging information. I served on the City of Duluth Tree Commission (now the Natural Resources Commission) and have held volunteer positions with several forestry and arboriculture organizations.
What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future for Whole Foods Co-op?Covid-19 is presenting challenges (and opportunities) that no one foresaw. Though the purview of the General Manager and not the Board, I want to see continued promotion/exposure of our local growers to shoppers and owners.
Other comments: Were I to be elected, I would be super excited to join such an excellent team.
Please provide a brief statement of introduction/ bio When I first moved to Duluth in 1990, one of the first things I did was to become a co-op owner. Back then, I simply wanted a community and access to local, organic food. Today, my passion for the co-op is not about my needs. Rather, I have become convinced that the co-op economic model and its vision will be a standard for Duluth and communities across the globe as a new relational consciousness takes root.
Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Co-op? My life experiences have provided me with strong foundational knowledge and interpersonal skills that I would like to share and contribute to help the success of our co-op. Moreover, I’m inspired by our current, highly functioning board culture. For the continued stability of our board, I would like to impart culture making skills to a new board cohort and sustain organizational knowledge.
Describe any volunteer or paid experiences relevant to your service as a Co-op Board member. What skills or experience will you bring to this Board? Though trained as a civil engineer, I bring decades of experience working at the intersection of food systems, health, healthcare and environmental policy. I coordinated the successful national mercury phase-out campaign and created and directed the national Healthy Food in Healthcare Campaign. I am the author of numerous journal articles and recently contributed a chapter to the text book on climate change and health, entitled “Health of People, Health of Planet and Our Responsibility”. I also offer workshops on collaborative leadership and serve as a strategic planning consultant and racial healing facilitator. In 2018, I was selected as one of twenty five BALLE Local Living Economy Fellows, joining diverse leaders from around North America, where we explored and shared strategies to build an economy that works for all. And, over the last few years, I voluntarily coordinated the successful Bag it Duluth Campaign.
What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future for Whole Foods Co-op?Science informs us that humans are wired for connection, innately cooperative and in deep relationship with the natural world, despite our current culture that would suggest otherwise. People are hungry for a new operating system and an economic model that is reflective of our shared humanity. This is what we offer, and it is our opportunity. Nevertheless, our co-op remains deeply woven into the dominant economic system which is suffering the biggest shock since the Great Depression. Business around the country are failing. I believe our challenge will be inner and inter-personal as we – owners, employees, board members, suppliers, producers – wrestle with the natural tension between our vision and that the fact that we remain tied to a fragile economic paradigm that holds competition and individualism as a virtue. It is my hope that we continue to attract and populate the board with individuals that can bring heart, courage, care, and compassion and the ability to adapt. I believe I offer these skills and am thrilled to offer my service.
Please provide a brief statement of introduction/ bio I graduated from Northland College in Ashland, WI, in 2005 and lived across the country for a few years before deciding that Duluth is where my family wanted to live. If you can’t find me in my pottery studio, working in the garden, or creating in the kitchen, I am probably on cross-country skis or canoeing in the BWCA.
Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Co-op? Within the first week of moving to rural Duluth in 2017, I became an owner of the Whole Foods Co-op. Every time I enter the Denfeld store, I feel welcomed, respected, and valued. The Co-op is not just a building selling products; it’s a family of like-minded individuals building a healthy and vibrant community. I want to serve on the board of directors to help bring awareness to how complicated it is for those who live in rural areas of Duluth to access the many benefits that the Co-op provides, and I would like to provide ideas on how to better serve Duluth’s rural areas.
Describe any volunteer or paid experiences relevant to your service as a Co-op Board member. What skills or experience will you bring to this Board? From 2007-2012, I was the Resource Conservation Manager at a school district of 10,000 students in Portland, OR. The position started as a one-year Americorps position where I analyzed utility data and coordinated with engineers, custodians, and the school board to improve efficiency of HVAC systems and operations inside seventeen buildings. After one year, I wrote my own job description and was hired through the school district to expand the position to include education and behavior modifications with students and staff. I built a bicycle that generated electricity to assist with energy conservation principles; organized green team monitors for recycling and energy in classrooms; and assisted with bioswales and stormwater management projects. I implemented vermicomposting in several classrooms and even started a commercial composting system in three cafeterias! I actively volunteered six hours every week from 2013-2017 at The Wild Ramp, a non-profit food and artisan market in Huntington, WV. This market sourced all of their products from within a 250 mile radius of their store. I routinely assisted farmers and vendors with marketing and displaying their products, and in doing so, I developed deep relationships with these people and learned a lot about their products and farming practices. In 2015, I started a seed library in Hurricane, WV, where budding gardeners could “check out” seeds to start their own gardens. I created little seed packets with growing information and seed saving instructions to create a sustainable cycle where the seeds could be “checked in” to supply the following years inventory. I also taught a few workshops on gardening and teaching self-sufficiency skills.
What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future for Whole Foods Co-op? If you go “up on the hill,” you will notice most food options are corporate with very little local and organic selection. I would venture that there are many owners of the Whole Foods Co-op, like me, who have to travel twenty or more minutes just to get to the Co-op which makes it challenging to engage fully in the community experiences that the Co-op provides. This is a huge challenge to overcome, but one that has many potential solutions.
Other comments: Self-sufficiency, food preservation, and growing my own food year round are a few of my passions that I enjoy sharing with others. In fact, I started my own business four years ago making crocks, weights, and other items that help with fermentation.All of my experiences show that I can be an instrumental member on the Co-op board and this is precisely why I am so excited to apply for this position. This is about improving our local, relationship-driven, food and health-focused community; I would be proud to be a part of the Co-op board, and help achieve this goal.
Please provide a brief statement of introduction/ bio Emily Anderson works as the Director of Community Health at Essentia Health, leading community health improvement programs by developing strategic activities and partnerships with communities. Emily moved to Duluth in 2017 from Minneapolis for the career opportunity and because of the proximity to nature and outdoor activities. Emily has an educational background in public health and is passionate about creating communities that support health. Since moving to Duluth, Emily has been involved with many food access programs including working with partners to start the Hillside Farmers Market, expanding Farm to School programs, and working with many local food access partners across northern Minnesota. Emily strongly believes in collaboration and teamwork, and brings experience working with diverse teams to create solutions. Outside of work, Emily loves spending time in nature exploring the North Shore and volunteering in the community.
Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Co-op? The Whole Foods Co-op is such an important organization in our community. The Co-op strengthens the local economy, supports local growers, reduces food insecurity, and promotes a nutritious diet. I believe this is crucial for a healthy and thriving community. I am interested in bringing energy, creative ideas and practical leadership to the board to support the long-term sustainability of the Whole Foods Co-op. I became an owner the first week I moved to Duluth and have been so impressed with the Co-op. I appreciate the model of shared ownership and incorporating voices of all Co-op members into decision making. I would be proud to serve on committees, engage owners, and think strategically about the future of the Co-op.
Describe any volunteer or paid experiences relevant to your service as a Co-op Board member. What skills or experience will you bring to this Board? I serve in a leadership capacity on several community collaborative efforts and have practical skills related to leading of groups. I appreciate the WFC Board governance policy model, where day-to-day operations are the responsibility of the General Manager, with the board focused more on vision, upholding policies, and strategic planning. I bring experience with long-term strategic planning, creating guiding principles that inform day-to-day work, developing new partnerships, and engaging the community in decision making.
What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future for Whole Foods Co-op?Every business is facing new opportunities and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. WFC has done an amazing job of keeping people safe and healthy while continuing to operate as an essential business. I believe the work that has been done to change service models by expanding delivery and curbside pick-up will continue as our lifestyles have shifted in the past few months. The Co-op has a huge opportunity to make healthy food accessible in the community, and a challenge with keeping the food affordable. In an increasingly-challenging economy, the Co-op also has a huge opportunity to provide economic opportunities for local producers/growers and meet food access needs of local families struggling to afford healthy food.
Please provide a brief statement of introduction/ bio When I moved to Duluth, at the top of my to-do list was signing up for a Co-op membership. In 2018, I was elected to the board and for the last three years have served as Treasurer, contributing my sustainable business and finance experience to the board’s work.
Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Co-op? I would like to continue serving on the Board because I’m passionate about supporting local food and agriculture, have relevant graduate-level educational training in sustainable business and cooperative business models, and currently work professionally in a values-aligned role within the socially responsible investing field. I love shopping at the Co-op while contributing my skills to help it flourish as a model of cooperative economic empowerment providing our community with equitable access to healthy, local, sustainable food.
Describe any volunteer or paid experiences relevant to your service as a Co-op Board member. What skills or experience will you bring to this Board? I have the following volunteer and paid experiences that are relevant to my service as a Co-op board member: I currently serve on the board and chair the finance committee of One Roof Community Housing. In this role, I help steward the organization’s financial resources. The holistic missions of One Roof and Whole Foods Co-op are inextricably linked, and I would be thrilled to continue contributing my service to both organizations. In 2010 I earned a MBA in Sustainable Business from Bainbridge Graduate Institute. My coursework included case studies on innovative business strategies including cooperative models. For the last 12 years, my professional work at Natural Investments has focused on helping individuals, families and non-profits align their investment portfolios with their values. In addition to public market investments, I help people invest in affordable housing, microfinance, renewable energy, and sustainable agriculture. Natural Investments also helps clients advocate with companies to improve their environmental and social policies.
What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future for Whole Foods Co-op?
I see the following opportunities and challenges in the future for Whole Foods Co-op: Increasing access to affordable, healthy, and local food in the Lake Superior bioregion. Local producers face many challenges bringing products to market. The Co-op is uniquely positioned to innovate ways to partner with local farmers and producers to increase local product availability while helping our bioregion become more self-sufficient across socio-economic divides. Fostering other cooperative businesses and organizations in the region. The Co-op is an example of a thriving cooperative business and is well-positioned to mentor and encourage other cooperative businesses in the region, leading to increased economic empowerment in our community. Big box competition like Cub Foods and Costco are increasingly offering organic and natural foods. This underscores the challenge and opportunity for the Co-op to continue to innovate and define its greater purpose, living out the organization’s ENDS Statement to support, invest and partner to create a healthy community, one which nurtures emotional, mental and physical health.
YOUR GIVE 2021 CANDIDATES
This year, Co-op Owners will help us select GIVE Round Up recipients that are committed to Environmental Stewardship, Equity and Diversity, Food Access, and the Local Food Economy. In 2021, we expect to raise tens of thousands of dollars through this program for non-profits in need. We’re excited for Co-op Owners to be a part of the process!
Hartley Nature Center
Using our expansive ecological and biological diversity to teach the region about sustainable and responsible land stewardship and water protection.
- We provide an array of recreational, educational, and volunteer opportunities, as well as welcoming gateway and educational services to improve and augment users’ experiences, including interpretive displays and signage, ski, snowshoe and other equipment rental, maps and trail guides, on-site naturalists, and other amenities. The parks’ array of recreational opportunities, coupled with the nature center’s suite of services, breaks down barriers to participation and helps all ages and skill levels to get outside and gain a deeper connection with wild places.
Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity
Repairing 18 homes for lower-income families in 2021 and reducing the environmental footprint of new construction.
- Our primary goals are to increase the stock of quality housing for lower-income community members, improve the condition of existing housing for those members (especially elders, single-parent families, veterans, families with disabilities, and other homeowners), and enhance community and neighborhood environments for all area residents. In 2021 we plan to repair 18 homes by making repairs to improve home safety and accessibility—this helps families minimize their environmental footprint by eliminating the need for new construction.
Providing excellent care for orphaned and injured wildlife so that they may return to the wild.
- We promote the understanding, appreciation, and well-being of wildlife and the world we share through compassion, care, and community involvement. We provide excellent care for orphaned and injured wildlife so that they may return to the wild. We also provide education throughout our community to increase the understanding of and appreciation for wildlife and natural habitats, and to decrease the negative human-animal interactions that result in orphaned, sick, and injured wildlife. Since May 13, 2020, we have helped more than 940 animals representing 100 different species.
Building community sustainability and resiliency through projects like the Lincoln Park Solar Garden
- Our mission is to lead and inspire change towards an equitable and sustainable future. We accomplish this mission through two areas of focus. The first is serving as the neighborhood convening organization in Duluth’s low-income Lincoln Park neighborhood, working on all aspects of sustainable revitalization that advance opportunities for residents and businesses like the Lincoln Park Solar Garden that will be providing energy by the end of this year for the Duluth Veterans Home and will also seed a fund for low income households in Lincoln Park facing utility shut-off. The second is a focus on community sustainability and resiliency including aspects of energy transition, housing stock improvement, economic security, and health.
Equity and Diversity
Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center
Providing safety, space to heal, advocacy, and empowerment for women, children and all survivors of domestic violence.
- Our Shelter houses over 500 survivors every year, while more than 1,500 survivors access legal advocacy, safety planning, self-sufficiency guidance and youth support through our drop-in Resource Center. Safe Haven’s comprehensive programming supports survivors through their entire journey from crisis management to lasting freedom from domestic violence. Serving the seven-county region of northeastern Minnesota, we aim to provide both direct service and community awareness and outreach programming.
Family Freedom Center
Engage, empower, and educate the Black community by connecting entrepreneurs with business leaders and more.
- We seek to empower the Black community by reconstructing socio-cultural narratives and unapologetically embracing what it means to be Black, both historically and present day. We engage, empower, and educate our members in three core programming. First, business startups where we help People of Color entrepreneurs start their first business with the help of business leaders in the community. Second, we have an internal micro-business that facilitates anti racist and diversity workshops for schools and businesses in the community as well as nation wide. Third, we host Freedom Summer programming which allows the community to come together and learn skills from each other in a workshop format every Friday and Saturday during the Summer.
WE Health Clinic
Our vision is that every individual controls their own sexual and reproductive health.
WE Health Clinic aims to improve reproductive and sexual health disparities amongst minority groups, including preventing unintended pregnancies, creating access to contraception, abortion, LGBTQ+ healthcare and HIV/Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) by increasing access and providing client centered sexual and reproductive healthcare. In 2018, WHC expanded its services to include LGBTQ+ and transgender care due to the tremendous, increased community need.
Our mission is to celebrate youth and support their families through one-on-one mentorship and community engagement.
- We are a one-on-one, community-based mentoring organization working to match positive adults with youth in the community for a fulfilling and high-quality mentoring relationship built on trust and support. There are currently 152 active matches and 202 youth on the waitlist who are waiting to receive a mentor. Over half of the youth served in Mentor North are youth of color. Mentor North also provides in-depth screening and training of mentors, advocacy and support to families by connecting them to additional community resources and regular monthly activities for matches to participate in.
Centering Indigenous values in all aspects of our work like reclaiming healthy and Indigenous foods.
- The American Indian Community Housing Organization has operated successful programming for 27 years including emergency shelter, supportive housing, and community support services. AICHO was created to establish an Indigenous response to social conditions in Duluth and works to resolve the impact of violence, housing and economic inequity, historical trauma, and systemic racism. After AICHO opened its permanent supportive housing program in 2012, we started offering meals and converted unused rooftop spaces into an urban garden space. This started our journey to reclaim healthy and Indigenous foods.
Duluth Branch NAACP – Health and Environmental Equity Committee
Working with the Morgan Park Community Club to engage neighbors in visioning and building a community garden.
- The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. The Health Committee fulfills the NAACP’s commitment to eliminating the racial and ethnic disparities in our healthcare system that plague people of color in the United States. The Committee has been working with the Morgan Park Community Club to engage neighbors in visioning and building a community garden and networking with organizations to provide support to the food justice efforts.
Duluth Children’s Museum
Creating a learning kitchen and greenhouse and enhancing food access and gardening programming.
- We the fifth oldest children’s museum in the nation and is strategically located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, one of the most racially and socioeconomically diverse areas of Duluth. The museum’s mission is to engage children in hands on learning through creative play and interactive exhibits. As the museum transitions to its new location, support through GIVE will be used to create a learning kitchen and greenhouse, enhance food access and gardening programming, and provide outreach programs to youth serving agencies and schools.
Duluth Area Family YMCA
Ensuring that youth who are hungry receive access to healthy meals and snacks all year long.
- We’ve made a lasting commitment to feeding youth in our community and we are ensuring that youth who are hungry receive access to healthy meals and snacks all year long. We understand the need for sustainable nutritional support for youth living in poverty and include healthy foods in our programs to meet their development needs. Youth do not have to be enrolled in a Y program to receive meals and snacks, they only need to drop into one of our sites in order to receive foods. We provide healthy snacks at our afterschool programs and drop-in sites, participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, ramped up our food distribution to ensure that all families in our community had the food and nutrition they needed stay healthy.
Local Food Economy
Sustainable Farming Association, Lake Superior chapter
Supporting the development and enhancement of sustainable farming systems through farmer-to-farmer networking, innovation, demonstration and education.
- We support the development and enhancement of sustainable farming systems through farmer-to-farmer networking, innovation, demonstration and education. LSSFA represents and serves more than one hundred member households in the western Lake Superior region, including northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Together we represent members who are both producers and consumers and strive to move food and farming systems into a sustainable future. The work of LSSFA is to enhance our regional food ecosystem by connecting the humans within it and by promoting the principles of soil health for truly sustainable farming.
St. Louis River Alliance
For the last 6 years we’ve planted manoomin, or Wild Rice, in the Estuary. In 2019 we planted 2500 pounds, and in 2020 we have planted 500 pounds.
- We are committed to getting people on the river in order to inspire and encourage families and individuals to be proper stewards of the land. We have conducted various initiatives for manoomin, or Wild Rice, restoration. For the last 6 years the St. Louis River Alliance has planted manoomin in the Estuary. In 2019 we planted 2500 pounds, and in 2020 we have planted 500 pounds. We host multiple annual events, including a spring river clean-up, summer community paddle, fall educational train ride and more!
Eco-Entrepreneurship Program, Lake Superior College Foundation
Our new “Summer Field School” allows LSC faculty, area farmers, entrepreneurs and practitioners to teach a variety of non-credit short courses in regenerative agriculture and restorative food systems.
- We’re devoted to providing the knowledge, skills, and networks for a more robust, inclusive regional food system and all the health, economic and ecological benefits it can bring. All students participate from seed to sale in our two-acre farm, the LSC Living Lab, growing and marketing fresh produce. Funds will be used for our new “Summer Field School” allowing LSC faculty, area farmers, entrepreneurs and practitioners to teach a variety of non-credit short courses in regenerative agriculture and restorative food systems. This work will provide a significant platform for expanding experiential learning to assist in our quest in building a more robust agriculture and food system.
Duluth Community Garden Program
Making gardening accessible to anyone through 21 community gardens with 200 plots.
- We work towards a healthy community for all Duluthians by making gardening accessible to anyone seeking to increase their access to fresh produce by providing: gardening space in our 21 community gardens with 200 plots; gardening education to support gardener success; a gardening tool and food processing equipment library and annual events that build social connections. Plot rental is on a sliding scale from $0-$200/year. In 2020, about 70% of our gardeners paid a reduced plot fee based on income. As a result, we need to seek out extra support to make up for the cost of subsidizing plots.