Whole Foods Co-op
OPEN DAILY  7am-9pm I  Holiday Hours  I  218.728.0884

2023 Owner Election


The 2023 Election is open September 18, 2023, through October 15, 2023. Annually, Whole Foods Co-op Owners elect fellow Owners to serve on the Board of Directors and vote on GIVE! Non-Profit organizations represented at the registers for the upcoming calendar year.

How-To Vote

  • Your Owner number is your Elector ID
  • Your password is the last name of the primary person on the Owner account

Owner numbers can only be used once. Owner equity must be paid in full to vote in the election. Results will be announced at the Annual Owner Meeting on October 16, 2023.

VOTING Has Closed

This Year’s election:

  • Rank Four (4) Whole Foods Co-op Board Member candidates. Your ranked vote will determine the length of terms; election results will fill three 3-year, and one 1-year terms.
  • Approve Minutes from last year’s meeting
  • Choose your top 10 from the full list of GIVE! 2024 applicants

Meet The Candidates

Provide a brief statement of introduction/biography of yourself. Greetings. My name is Susan Darley-Hill; most folks call me Susie. We’ve lived all over the US and moved to Duluth 22 years ago. Before moving here, I taught Biology and Botany at the college level and served as the education director of a bioregional farm in Northern Kentucky. After moving to Duluth, I worked at WLSSD as an environmental program coordinator, overseeing the tour program, providing public education on composting, wastewater treatment, household hazardous waste, and helping develop the food waste recovery and composting programs for the Sanitary District. I am now retired and enjoy hiking, skiing, and traveling with my husband to spend time with our 3 adult kids and grandchildren, who live in great places to visit.

Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Co-op? I’ve been a committed food co-op member in nearly every place we’ve lived or been part of a buying club where co-ops weren’t an option. I joined my first co-op back in Missoula nearly 50 years ago. My primary goal as a board member is to help ensure that our community has ready access to healthy, safe (preferably organic), affordable food. This includes securing locally sourced food that will support small farms within our bioregion and diminish the energy and resource expenditure associated with long-distance transport of goods. Additionally, I am interested in working to find alternatives to plastic packaging and other forms of over-packaging that generates household and commercial waste.

Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to your service as a Co-op Board member. How have you demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and how do you see yourself demonstrating this during your WFC Board Service? I have served on a number of boards, including Hartley Nature Center, League of Women Voters Duluth, DCC Women’s Curling League Board, AFSCME Local 66 WLSSD unit secretary, WDSE Sounding Board, and Community Education boards in Allen, TX and Cincinnati, OH. My commitment to diversity and inclusion in each of my terms on these boards, as well as my work as education director and faculty, has been central to my service. Writing grants for scholarships and busing ensured thousands of children annually had access to a transforming farm experience. I have helped develop and provide inclusive and adaptive experiences to better serve students, tour visitors, and citizens attending political forums so that no one is excluded from enriching experiences or participating in civic activities. As a WFC board member, I would continue to carry on this commitment to be aware of and address those concerns where voices may not be heard, exclusion is happening, or needs are not being met in our community.

What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future for Whole Foods Co-op? My work with WLSSD’s food waste recovery program provided great insight into the extremely thin margins within which food service and grocers operate. Balancing the needs of customers, staff, and food suppliers is a difficult and tenuous proposition. Everyone strives to live their best life. The cooperative framework is one where the bottom line is not the only parameter that is considered when creating a long-term vision and plan for stable, sustainable growth. We want a long-lived community resource that is inclusive and successfully serves its community members, employees, and food partners. Accessibility to quality and affordable food, providing staff with a living wage and benefits and ensuring a market for local food growers represent the challenges that will require effective listening and communication, imagination, and much thoughtful work in the years to come.

Anything else you would like to add? I like it in Duluth. A lot! Having a great food co-op that’s pretty easy to get to and where I can afford to buy the food and products I want is an essential, quality of life thing for me. That’s it in a nutshell.

Provide a brief statement of introduction/biography of yourself. My name is Tristen; I’m 32 and originally born in Georgia; however, most of my life, I have lived in Minnesota. I moved up to Duluth in 2016 after graduating from college and serving two years in AmeriCorps in Decora, Iowa. I currently work for Eco3 (in partnership with MN Power) as an Energy Analyst and complete energy audits that work to provide homeowners with energy saving upgrades for their home. I married my wife in early 2022, and I’m a dog-dad to two labradors and a corgi.

I’m an avid hunter and fly fisherman, but I will always take an opportunity to take my boat out and fish deeper waters. If I’m not fishing, you can find me mountain biking or hiking on the trails with my wife and our dogs. When winter hits, I swap my fly-fishing gear for skis. My wife and I are avid downhill and cross-country skiers and love exploring the seemingly never-ending trails around Duluth. I’m an advocate for keeping public lands public, saving the boundary waters wilderness area from mining, and maintaining our environment through invasive species removal.

Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Co-op? I want to be a part of the board to have a voice and assist with making decisions with regard to the Co-op and its future here in the community. As an Owner, I want to give additional time to support and promote the mission of the co-op as I believe it’s an essential part of our community.

Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to your service as a Co-op Board member. How have you demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and how do you see yourself demonstrating this during your WFC Board Service? Most of my volunteer hours are currently spent with Eco3’s various initiatives around the community. We are currently refurbishing a home in Lincoln Park to be a house for Vista volunteers and maintain a greenhouse on the LSC campus. In addition to those efforts, I’m currently volunteering my time strategizing with local businesses to bring more non-vehicle transportation into the community. I have volunteered with COGGS and continue to maintain and clean bike trails near Keene Creek. I’m also on the planning committee for the Harvest Festival happening this fall in Bayfront Festival Park.

I strive to promote diversity and inclusion through my actions with groups I’m involved in, whether it’s at work or recreationally. I believe that all humans are equal and live by the quote, “Once I know better, I do better,” as I know I will continue to learn new things as time passes. As a Board member, I’ll continue to put the effort forward in a meaningful way to promote diversity and inclusion.

What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future for Whole Foods Co-op? I work in Lincoln Park and live in West Duluth and believe that the Whole Foods Co-op is not only a safe place for people but a necessity for the West Duluth/Denfeld/Lincoln Park community. As a patron, I love the variety and freshness of the produce that’s provided. The options for baked and prepared goods with simple, natural ingredients are miles ahead of what is provided at other local grocery stores. As a husband, I appreciate the options my wife has to choose from to meet her dietary restrictions. The Denfeld location is the only location within West Duluth that has an expansive selection of organic products that are available at a reasonable price. For these reasons (amongst others) I feel that the Whole Foods Co-op is essential, and I would like to continue to see it succeed and benefit our community.

A challenge I see in the future for the Co-op is the continued rise in food costs. Working with Eco3 and the Lincoln Park neighborhood, I am exposed to families from all sorts of backgrounds, and food costs are usually one of their main concerns when it comes to their monthly budgets. I feel fortunate to be able to shop at the Co-op on a routine basis, but I think it’s important to keep all families in mind when developing new initiatives and thinking about our neighborhood as a whole and how our decisions could impact them.

Anything else you would like to add? I would like to take the time to thank the current board of directions and thank whoever reads through my application for their time. I’m looking forward to hearing back about fulfilling a position.

Provide a brief statement of introduction/biography of yourself.I have been a Duluth resident for 7 years after moving up from Iowa and became a Co-op owner shortly thereafter. I am employed as a Planner for the City of Duluth in the Planning and Development Department, working daily to provide customer service and addressing community needs. I am currently a Lincoln Park resident, where I share a home with my wife and our Goldendoodle. In my free time, I enjoy photography and spending time outdoors camping, hiking, and biking, and I am a coffee obsessive.

Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Co-op? I believe that as a Co-op owner, serving on the Board of Directors is an honor and has the ability to assist in the decision making for the current and future prosperity of Whole Foods Co-op. Serving as a board member is a great way to connect with other owners and spread the positive work of the Co-op.

Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to your service as a Co-op Board member. How have you demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and how do you see yourself demonstrating this during your WFC Board Service? I have unpaid volunteer experience helping build and maintain mountain bike trails in the Duluth area and Two Harbors. I also have volunteer experience at Chum filling Thanksgiving boxes and sorting through donations. I currently sit on the Metropolitan Interstate Council Technical Advisory Committee, which advises and reviews the development of transportation plans and programs for the Duluth-Superior urbanized area. My previous and current board experiences are as a staff person preparing and presenting project proposals to appointed officials.

As an employee with the City of Duluth, I take diversity and inclusion seriously. Aside from training sessions for professional growth, on a day-to-day basis, as an official providing customer service, I listen to anyone who calls, emails, or walks into our office and strives to address their concerns or questions. I understand there is not a “one size fits all model,” and we are trained to approach every situation as unique while understanding our own internal biases. When not interacting on a service basis with customers, I approach larger projects with City goals in mind for addressing different users while maintaining the neighborhood identity and acknowledging past disparities. I hope to bring an understanding of community needs and listen to owners and board members when issues arise.

What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future for Whole Foods Co-op?I believe the biggest challenges appear as competition in the natural food space from larger or nationwide retailers and from attracting new owners. I do think Whole Foods Co-op has the resources to provide local options that can connect the consumer to the producer and, with a diverse variety of options, can attract new Owners. The Co-op is poised to become a stronger community asset and connect to current and new owners through new retail options and providing an inclusive space for community gatherings and classes.

Provide a brief statement of introduction/biography of yourself.I grew up on a dairy farm in Southwest WI and attended Northland College in Ashland, WI. I met my husband while earning my Psychology and Business degrees. Over the course of 12 years, my family followed my husband’s career in WY, OR, and WV before settling in Duluth in 2017. We started gardens and planted fruit trees and berry bushes everywhere we have lived because we enjoy growing our own food. We learned a lot through trial and error in the different growing zones, and we always wonder if the following homeowners enjoyed the fruits of our labors after we left. After moving into our forever home in Duluth, we are thrilled to finally enjoy our ½ acre garden, 37 fruit trees, and 11 different varieties of berry bushes for many, many years! My hands are always busy playing in the soil, shaping clay in my pottery studio, serving coffee at Dovetail Cafe, paddling a canoe, or striding along cross country ski trails. There are never enough hours in a day to accomplish everything I want to do!

Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Co-op? When I moved to Duluth in 2017, I wanted to have a more active role in the Whole Foods Co-op besides just shopping and attending classes. I was elected to the Board in 2020. For the first two years of service, the focus was mainly on the health and safety of staff and customers and keeping up with supply chain challenges during the pandemic. I am running for a second term because I am excited to see what creative opportunities and challenges we face in the coming years, and I want to be a part of it!

Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to your service as a Co-op Board member. How have you demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and how do you see yourself demonstrating this during your WFC Board Service? During my first term on the Board, I attended a conference session about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and shared what I learned with other Board members. There are monthly conversations at committee meetings about how the Whole Foods Co-op can bring in more customers and owners and meet the needs of our community. Do we carry the products customers are looking for, and are they affordable? Are the producers diverse, and how are we showcasing them in our newsletters and on our shelves? We need to look at more than who is just walking through our doors.

What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future for Whole Foods Co-op? The Whole Foods Co-op needs to position itself to expand on its leadership role in the community and use the upcoming opportunities in the Hillside Neighborhood to gain trust and loyalty. How can the Co-op connect in a more meaningful way and position itself to be ready for the future while larger conglomerates try to entice members into shopping elsewhere? The Denfeld Co-op is large enough to accommodate more customers and needs to bring in their local neighborhood residents by providing more affordable prices. Several classes have been taught to bring in people to learn, and I would like to see us expand on this.

GIVE! 2024 Non-Profit Applicant Finalists

Help us select GIVE! Round Up recipients that are committed to Environmental Stewardship, Equity and Diversity, Food Access, and the Local Food Economy. In 2024, we expect to raise $45,000+ dollars for local non-profits. We’re thrilled for Co-op Owners to be a part of the process. Below are the applicants that have passed through WFC staff voting. Thank you to all 40+ organizations who applied this year!

American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO)
Previously Funded: YES (2017, 2020, 2021, 2022)
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: GIVE! funding would be used to support the completion of AICHO’s Domestic Violence Shelter development, which will offer 24 beds, more than doubling our current bed capacity. Our residents will receive cultural and trauma-informed care that is victim-centered. Our focus is on healing the individual. AICHO is changing the narrative in our community by asserting our political and cultural ties to the land and foraging a commitment to build sustainable, community-owned practices.

BOLD-choice Theatre
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: BOLD-choice develops original plays with input from their ensemble cast; primarily actors with disabilities. GIVE! funding would be used for production (rehearsal and creation), promotion and presentation of original high quality, fully realized productions to present to local and surrounding area audiences. BOLD-choice Theatre seeks to pay actors and creatives competitive compensation for their performance work.

Center for Alcohol & Drug Treatment
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: GIVE! funding would give everyone who wants to recover a fair chance. It would ensure folks get care and support at a crucial time to help sustain their journey. Some of the things your donation will help with include; No insurance coverage, medications, clothing & grooming items, recovery support, and family therapy.

Chester Bowl Improvement Club
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: All funding will directly support the scholarship fund, enabling families to participate in summer camp or the winter ski and snowboard program regardless of their ability to pay. Over the last year, we provided $42,000 in winter scholarships and $32,000 in summer camp scholarships to 160 families.

Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP)
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Food Access
Using GIVE Funding for: Women often return to an abuser because of a lack of resources, one of which is food. DAIP would take 100% of revenue from GIVE! and put it in a Food Resource Fund that goes directly to victims of domestic violence, where we would work with survivors on buying good food, prep, and meal planning.

Previously Funded: YES (2018, 2021)
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity, Environmental Stewardship, Food Access, Local Food Economy
Using GIVE Funding for: GIVE! funding will be used to purchase materials for needed improvements at the Eco3 Urban Farm site, including necessary high tunnel upgrades, developing water catchment, building an irrigation system, and designing infrastructure to meet a wide range of accessibility needs. The Eco3 Urban Farm develops sustainable food systems by serving as a space for production, education, social connectedness, and community building.

Friends of Sax-ZIm Bog
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Environmental Stewardship & Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: This next year, our focus is to improve safety and accessibility. We will be investing in changes to our current structures, trails, and boardwalks that will make them safer and more usable places for all people to explore. These funds will be used towards these projects. Mature Black Spruce bogs and mature old-growth forests are the exact habitat that many of our boreal birds need for nesting and wintering. Our work preserves these forests and provides education and research.

Friends of the Duluth Public Library
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: Money raised by the Friends makes free, all-ages library programming possible and supports the development of creative, rich, meaningful programs for the community. The City of Duluth’s budget does not include funding for library programming and has very limited funds for materials. Resources and space are available to all community members at no cost and include Port Cards for ISD 709 students, access to resources regardless of housing status, and a fine-free approach to lending.

Green New Deal Housing
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity & Environmental Stewardship
Using GIVE Funding for: Funds will be used to support our housing development and workforce training programs in Duluth. They will support equitable access to construction training and housing, both of which are offered to diverse populations and support environmental stewardship in the construction trades. We build zero net energy homes: valuable, durable, solar-powered homes we subsidize and sell to low-income families. Construction training focused on women and people of color.

Health Equity Northland (HEN)
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity & Food Access
Using GIVE Funding for: HEN will expand outreach to the African Heritage community in Hillside and West Duluth to increase food security and health access. We share seedlings, distribute garden produce, build health literacy, record oral history, mentor youth and connect community members to more equitable healthcare. HEN’s Giving Garden grows 3000 pounds of healthy produce annually for African heritage elders and the broader community. Youth gain cultural knowledge as they build leadership skills & food sovereignty.

Lake Superior Community Health Center
Previously Funded: YES (2019)
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity & Food Access
Using GIVE Funding for: GIVE! funding will support our patient pantry so we can keep the shelves stocked with healthy food options. We have no operational source of funding for the pantry. It is funded by donations and run by staff volunteers. Last year, we distributed over 8,000 pounds of food to those who needed it.

League of Women Voters of Duluth
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Environmental Stewardship & Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: We will use GIVE! funding to expand voter registration and education efforts, particularly to new voters and those whose voting rights were recently restored. We will also support efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, pursue renewable energy, and protect Lake Superior and the watershed through our Environmental Action Committee.

Life House
Previously Funded: YES (2018, 2020, 2022)
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: GIVE! funds will support the wraparound services we provide young people free of charge. This includes Drop-in Youth Center, Mental Health and Wellness program, Housing programs, and Futures Education and Employment program. Life House is a critical supportive service provider for diverse populations such as Indigenous, Black/African Heritage, and/or Multiracial, totaling 60% of youth served in 2022.

Mentor North
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: Mentor North will use the funding to support our core activities: recruiting, screening, and training mentor candidates; enrolling eligible youth; facilitating the match process; and ensuring the success of each match with ongoing communication and wrap-around support. Affirming the identities and lived experiences of our youth, many of whom have been challenged by systemic inequities, lack of resources, and limited access to developmental activities.

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA)
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Environmental Stewardship & Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: MCEA would use funds to continue its Mining the Climate Crisis project. While industry uses clean energy to justify risky mining proposals, MCEA will use legislative and communications tactics to combat greenwashing and promote responsible regulation and nature-positive climate solutions. MCEA advances environmental stewardship and equity by challenging mining companies that seek to profit off MN’s minerals and leave costs to local communities.

North Shore AgroEcology Center (Organic Consumers Association)
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Environmental Stewardship, Food Access, Local Food Economy
Using GIVE Funding for: Give! Funding will help take our work from the internal building stage to the public outreach stage. We are ready to scale up our public workshops, farm tours, and outreach activities, and these funds will ensure that we can pay instructors while offering free and sliding scale options.

Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (Save the Boundary Waters)
Previously Funded: NO
Funding Priority: Environmental Stewardship & Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: Funds will go toward general operating costs to support the work of the Campaign. Our organization supports an array of initiatives, such as our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) grants and program (a program that supports those often excluded from or face barriers to outdoor recreation and advocacy), adventure advocacy trips, and continuing our collaboration with top scientists in the field.

Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
Previously Funded: YES (2022)
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: GIVE funds would be used to support the expenses of Planned Parenthood’s Twin Ports Teen Council. Teen Council is an intensive year-long youth development program that teaches 15-19-year-old students to become experts in promoting reproductive health to their peers. Approaching community wellness by providing health care and sexuality education to all with class, sexuality, gender expression, and gender identity front and center.

Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA)
Previously Funded: YES (2018)
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: GIVE! funding will be used to maintain the stability of our 24-hour crisis services for survivors in our community. This ensures that we are able to provide a 24-hour helpline, 24-hour forensic nursing response, 24-hour hospital advocacy response, and emergency basic needs for our clients. Marginalized and BIPOC communities are impacted by sexual violence at a disproportionate level and often have the highest needs. PAVSA ensures that systemic barriers are minimized when survivors in our community are trying to access treatment.

Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity
Previously Funded: YES (2021)
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity
Using GIVE Funding for: Funding will help Habitat lead teams in making home adaptations for seniors and others selected by low-income homeowners and Habitat staff that maximize home safety and accessibility and reduce the danger of falls. Habitat staff engage volunteers to help conduct quality home adaptations. Homes provide many benefits to people.

Previously Funded: YES (2018)
Funding Priority: Environmental Stewardship
Using GIVE Funding for: Wildwoods will use funds to rehabilitate and release orphaned wildlife; give emergency support to raptors and injured wildlife; offer phone triage to the public regarding wild animals in potential distress; and share programs with the community aimed at reducing harmful human/wildlife interactions.

Zeitgeist Center for Arts and Community
Previously Funded: YES (2018)
Funding Priority: Equity + Diversity, Environmental Stewardship, & Food Access
Using GIVE Funding for: The city of Duluth has committed to resurfacing 6th Ave. in 2024. Funds will support the Safer 6th Ave E work/Healthy Hillside Committee, a group of 10 Hillsiders working with Zeitgeist to improve the quality of life in Hillside. Improved design will include stormwater system upgrades, better mass transit access, and improved access to food. Funds will ensure new designs are community-based. Over 30% of central Hillside families don’t drive; 20% of pedestrian deaths in Duluth occur along the 6th Ave corridor.

Whole Foods Co•op


Hillside Store

610 E 4th Street
Duluth, MN 55805

Denfeld Store

4426 Grand Avenue
Duluth, MN 55807