Meet Our 2013 Board Candidates
My husband Scott and I have been living in Chester for about seven years and our daughter Ava is a Beet Baby. When the original store opened in town, we'd trek down there and get all of our organic yams, spinach, bananas, etc to create Ava's first baby food. As she began speaking, one of her first sentences was "Local Beet...get some" when we would run out of one of her staples. Visiting The Local Beet Co-Op is nearly a daily ritual in our family and I am so grateful to have such a wonderful co-op in our community.
I was blessed to grow up in a family where activism, environmentalism and natural living were just how we did things. As I’ve grown and am now caring for my own family, I’ve experienced a wider spectrum of lifestyle choices. I serve as a board member because I want to share the values I grew up with and help make living them out more accessible to others. Together, we have the power to coalesce the demand for healthy and sustainable foods and products thereby making larger corporations shift their business models, their farming and manufacturing processes, and their labor practices.
In my professional life, I am the founder of Meridian Lights, a production company specializing in documentaries and corporate and educational videos. I bring over 15 years of experience in developing multimedia marketing communications for a wide spectrum of clients and I am grateful to have the opportunity to apply these experiences toward building a stronger Co-Op.
About Alissa Wood, the Nominating Committee says…
It is truly an honor to work alongside Alissa, who currently serves as our Co-Op Board’s Chair. She combines compassion and creativity with objectivity and diplomacy, making her an invaluable asset to the success of our Co-Op. Her unwavering commitment to natural living and environmental stewardship is a great guiding light in our Co-Op’s long-term vision.
I am a lifelong resident of Chester, and my wife, Mary Walsh, and I have long been proponents of shopping locally. The birth of our daughter Mia in 2006 catalyzed our growing desire for a simpler, healthier lifestyle, and we now consume almost exclusively organic foods and our home is virtually chemical free. The 'birth' and sustained presence of The Local Beet has allowed us to more fully live these values we have embraced. Little did we know that The Beet's transition from sole proprietorship to a co-operative model would awaken us to the additional values associated with co-operativism. It is with all these values in mind that I gratefully serve on the Board of Directors, so that I may not only cherish and sustain what we (Mary, Mia & I) have, but work co-operatively with others to promote, grow and share it.
About Rob Bibbiani, the Nominating Committee says…
Rob currently serves as our Co-Op Board’s Vice Chair and he is one of our earliest and most passionate Root Supporters. Having attended a regional cooperative conference, Rob is fully immersed and versed in the long-term vision of Co-Ops. His professional counseling career and gentle spirit provide a great service to our Board.
As a third generation "health-foodie," I became a part of the original Local Beet four years ago, then was actively involved in helping make the transition to a cooperative as not only a store supervisor and grocery buyer, but also as a part of the founding Board of Directors.
Following in the footsteps of my mother and grandmother, I have always been actively interested in a lifestyle of good health through food and education, and I am so happy to be able to share that with such a wonderful, like-minded community at the Local Beet Co-Op. As the grocery buyer, I am constantly talking to shoppers about their favorite products and seeking out new and better offerings for our store so that we maintain a fresh vitality and fun product mix, even in such a small space.
I am also happy to continue participation on the Board of Directors as the Secretary, a position that uses my organizational skills and natural inclination to keep things in order!
The Co-Op is a business and community that is very close to my heart and I hope to continue to help build and grow the Beet, in the best interest of the membership, as much as I possibly can!
About Mandy Carroll-Leiva, the Nominating Committee says...
Mandy currently serves as our Co-Op Board’s Secretary, bringing an extensive knowledge of social media, database management and marketing to the role, along with a thirst for industry knowledge. Her creativity and passion, trademarks of her jewelry design business, combined with a truly effervescent personality add an unparalleled dynamism to our Board.
Before moving to Chester two years ago, I was already intrigued by The Local Beet. It was surprising to me to find a health food store in such a small town. As a native of Los Angeles, California, I grew up with health food stores all around me. When I moved to Madison, CT twelve years ago, it was disappointing that it wasn’t easy for me to get organic produce and other organic or natural products that I craved. When we moved to town, I started shopping at The Beet and I loved the convenience and the large inventory I found for a smallish space. I immediately wanted to get involved, partly to meet new people in town but mostly to help support what I think of as a cornerstone of Chester. I love the fact that I can get fresh breads, organic produce, meats and milk plus healthy snacks for my kids. I think supporting local farmers is so important, right now more than ever, as their farms are increasingly threatened by big businesses wanting to make more money by investing in cheaper ways to make food and giving the consumer a poorer quality product. As a mother, a wife and a health-conscious individual, I always feel good about the products I buy at The Beet. I enjoy being a part of the Board of Directors and as the Volunteer Coordinator. I love meeting our new volunteers and workers and I look forward to helping The Local Beet Co-Op grow its membership and continue to meet the needs of our customers by keeping healthy, organic options available to the town of Chester and the whole CT River Valley!
About Tracy Kleinberg, the Nominating Committee says…
Tracy currently serves as our Co-Op Board’s Volunteer Coordinator, scheduling over fifty hours a week of Co-Op shifts with competent volunteers and staff. She is best known for her entertaining and hilarious weekly Call to Duty emails to volunteers. Tracy’s keen wit and her pragmatism bring a fresh perspective to Board discussions and decision-making.
Natural living and activism were modeled for me by my parents who raised my consciousness about local whole foods, environmentalism and the challenges to public health. Little did I know how much more broken our food system could become. Raising healthy children in a healthy community has become more challenging in the past two decades with the introduction of genetically modified foods and the explosion of insecticides and herbicides into our agricultural systems.
For many years, I have been committed to making a contribution to our community. Having visited natural food co-ops across the country, I fell in love with the cooperative model. The Local Beet Co-Op has been welcomed into the larger national cooperative movement and will join other co-ops as the strongest business model globally in the coming years. Food Co-0ps are the cornerstone of communities and I am proud to work with such a dedicated group of people committed to the sustained growth of the movement. Over the last two years, we have put hundreds of thousands of dollars into farmers’ pockets, consistently sponsored healthy initiatives, gained a solid reputation with legislators and were mentioned in the New York Times! As a business model, we are fulfilling our status as a “non-profit association” adhering to the new triple bottom line: people, planet, profits.
About Kim Kellogg, the Nominating Committee says…
Kim is a unifying tour de force. Even as she founded The Local Beet as a traditional business in 2009, her vision and passion was always to organize a co-op in the heart of Chester Village. Her tireless and often selfless commitment to The Local Beet Co-Op astounds, inspires and helps our Co-Op thrive. Kim brings a broad understanding of the daily functioning of our Co-Op and a path forward to growth and greater success by cooperating with other co-ops regionally and internationally.
The Co-Op is honored to be able to call upon Attorney Lauren Gister for legal consultations and Representative Phil Miller for legislative matters.
Board of Directors Governance and Policy
As a democratic organization that follows the cooperative business model, store patrons who become members by purchasing an ownership share in The Local Beet Co-Op elect—on the basis of “one-person-one vote”—a Board of Directors to represent them and provide governance and oversight. Board members are elected to one-year terms, with elections taking place during the annual members’ meeting and celebration held in May. Each Board member generously donates his or her expertise, sharing in a vision of a dynamic, community-based food cooperative in the heart of Chester Village that promotes healthful living and fosters the growth of local and regional food systems.
The Board of Directors meets monthly and members are welcome to attend meetings. As representatives of the members, Board members try to stay aware of members’ needs and aspirations for the Co-Op. Each meeting includes a time during which members can provide input and ask questions. Special forums are occasionally held to obtain feedback from members on important issues.
A major aspect of the Board’s governance responsibility is hiring and overseeing the General Manager who serves as the Co-Op’s chief executive officer and manages complex day-to-day operations. Working in partnership with the General Manager and in-store personnel and volunteers, the Board helps ensure the Co-Op is run in a way that is financially responsible, socially conscious and genuinely responsive to the interests of its members and the wider community.