French Broad Food Co+Op

Board Candidates

It’s that time of year again! We’re ready to begin the Board of Directors election and give owners the opportunity to make your voice heard!

The candidates are listed below with their answers to the following list of questions:

  • Why are you interested in representing FBFC owners as a board member?
  • What experience, education, and/or skills qualify you to serve on the FBFC Board of Directors?
  • Please choose one of the cooperative principles and describe how you think the FBFC Board can encourage and foster this in a new way?

How to vote

  • Click on the link above to vote on the 2023 board candidates. Your ownership must be current to vote. Voting beings November 7 and will conclude on December 7, 2022. 

Christa Hamilton

  1. Why are you interested in representing FBFC owners as a board member?

I am a current board member & I would like to continue the cumulative & collaborative work that I’ve been a part of during my first term. I enjoy compassionately directing the vision of the Co+Op & love being a part of the team on the board.  

  1. What experience, education, and/or skills qualify you to serve on the FBFC Board of Directors?

Please note any history of collective-decision making and/or financial responsibilities for an organization.

I am a current board member & VP of the FBFC BOD and am a past employee of the co+op. 

  1. Please choose one of the cooperative principles and describe how you think the FBFC Board can encourage and foster this in a new way?

I would like to integrate more education & training to engage the board to the store’s needs.

Kitty Love

  1. Why are you interested in representing FBFC owners as a board member?

I believe that food systems are the cornerstone of our economy and culture.  How and what we eat determines not only our health, but the health of our environment. The health of the human beings in a community greatly affects mental health, and therefore affects every aspect of culture. I have participated in various civic contexts in Asheville, and have noticed a distinct lack of attention to food systems in decision making and community planning. I see the FBFC as having an important opportunity to change this, especially as we approach the time that the FBFC will be a very visible player in downtown infrastructure. I feel that the FBFC is one  of the few, if not only, representatives of our food systems locally that operates in 100% integrity in regard to the well being of people and the environment.  It’s crucially important to me that this entity move forward effectively and powerfully as our community grows.  It would be a privilege to assist in and learn from that process.

  1. What experience, education, and/or skills qualify you to serve on the FBFC Board of Directors? Please note any history of collective-decision making and/or financial responsibilities for an organization.

I have served in nonprofit contexts for over 20 years, including including Arts 2 People and the Asheville Area Arts Council.  Arts 2 People is the organization that produced the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival.  I served the organization in a variety of capacities over 20+ years, including as festival director, organization director, and board chair.  At the Asheville Area Arts Council I served as executive director for 5 years.  I have experience and training in program development and coordination, grant writing, tax compliance, budgets, marketing, strategic planning, human resources, and business management for micro-entrepreneurs.  I also served for 6 years on the downtown development commission. Finally,  I am an artist, gardener, beekeeper, and student herbalist/forager.

  1. Please choose one of the cooperative principles and describe how you think the FBFC Board can encourage and foster this in a new way?

#7. I’d love to see representatives of the FBFC serve in community development initiatives and lead conversations around Bcorps, nonprofits, and other economic system alternatives in partnership with traditional economic development entities  (like the Chamber and TDA.)

Jerome Smith

  1. Why are you interested in representing FBFC owners as a board member?

I have served in the Natural Food industry for over 20 years, including working at a Natural Food Co-op. I believe in supporting the natural food movement in it’s many forms which includes the cooperative paradigm FBFC represents.

  1. What experience, education, and/or skills qualify you to serve on the FBFC Board of Directors? Please note any history of collective-decision making and/or financial responsibilities for an organization.

I have many years of experience in the natural food industry and have been on the board of a not-for-profit organization for over 10 years.

  1. Please choose one of the cooperative principles and describe how you think the FBFC Board can encourage and foster this in a new way?

Concern for Community – I think that the FBFC could find ways to diversify its membership through outreach and education.

Jillian Ashley

  1. Why are you interested in representing FBFC owners as a board member?

I have dedicated my life to seeking the truth in our food system nationally and globally as well as developing organizational and communication skills to work in groups of people to achieve goals for the community. Through this interest I started a business in Asheville in 2015 that would allow me to play a direct role in curating a strong, local, organic and humane supply chain from which to source ingredients for my products, whilst also allowing for my mycelial network of farmers, herbalists, educators and artists to flourish. My business was in response to the work I was doing managing the waste stream of events, business and people homes and serving as an environmental educator for events nationwide and internationally. 

I believe that food is medicine. I believe in accessibility for all to both education and nourishment. While I have long term experience working on teams for for-profit companies and non profits, I have been based in Asheville for 10 years and have been a member and patron of the coop for many of those years. I have always been interested in diving deeper into the interworkings and supporting the growth, expansion and social impact of what French Broad Coop represents and provides to the greater Asheville area and our visitors. I feel aligned in y’all’s mission and my daily work, contributions to community, ethical sourcing  and self care reflects that.

  1. What experience, education, and/or skills qualify you to serve on the FBFC Board of Directors?

Please note any history of collective-decision making and/or financial responsibilities for an organization.

I have explored different forms of self governance via permaculture design certification training and in my own business. I am certified in herbalism and permaculture. As a local business owner and an event producer I have worked through conflict resolution and have studied NVC. I am organized, punctual, and use my voice. I have extensive experience in budgeting, projecting, zero waste practices, communication and self care that I think could benefit the board. Content creation is also a strength of mine regarding products, branding and lifestyle in the eco conscious, self care and health and wellness arenas.

  1. Please choose one of the cooperative principles and describe how you think the FBFC Board can encourage and foster this in a new way?

Voluntary and open membership – I personally had a raw experience last year where someone assumed my identity to my account to use my discount multiple times. I found out by getting and emailed receipt for purchases I didn’t make with their name in the payment info. I brought this up to the cashier and they told me there was nothing they could do. I talked to someone higher up and got the same answer. I ended up changing my last name to my mother’s maiden name “Prado” to avoid that in the future. I am not sure if this is a regular occurrence or not. But perhaps have a system in place or a way to protect the membership of individuals when tested by others who can simply use their name at check out. I think it’s great anyone in the family or household can use the same account. I am referring more to when an account is misused without the member’s consent. I felt seen in my concern however I needed to become solution oriented myself in order to protect my account. 

Mary Clare Schwartz

  1. Why are you interested in representing FBFC owners as a board member?

I have over 20 years of experience in Natural Foods Retail, including almost 10 at FBFC. I feel like I have a lot to offer from a worker to management perspective. 

  1. What experience, education, and/or skills qualify you to serve on the FBFC Board of Directors? Please note any history of collective-decision making and/or financial responsibilities for an organization.

I was previously the Outreach Coordinator of the FBFC, which morphed into a store management role during COVID. I have extensive purchasing experience, have negotiated many Union contracts, been to many NCG retreats & conferences, sat on BOD as the GM Successor, planned many Annual Meetings. Currently I am the Store Manager of 5th Season Gardening in East Asheville. 

  1. Please choose one of the cooperative principles and describe how you think the FBFC Board can encourage and foster this in a new way?

I would like to see the Co-op go above and beyond in our Concern for Community. I would like to see that we minimize food waste & put a strong focus on Food Insecurity. I would like to see our waste stream minimized as best as possible and do the work to keep as much trash out of the dumpsters after just one use. I feel this can be accomplished by forming strong partnerships with other local groups that are already doing the work. 

 

Laura Ann Edmonds

  1. Why are you interested in representing FBFC owners as a board member?

My love and commitment to healthy foods and living along with community is why I am interested.  

  1. What experience, education, and/or skills qualify you to serve on the FBFC Board of Directors? Please note any history of collective-decision making and/or financial responsibilities for an organization.

I worked at EarthFare from 1997-2004 in the produce department and helped open the Charleston store.  That job taught me so many things, more than college in working and everyday knowledge.  In that experience along with my 22 years as a Buncombe County Public youth services librarian I am passionate about serving and finding resources for all people for their well being.

  1. Please choose one of the cooperative principles and describe how you think the FBFC Board can encourage and foster this in a new way?

#7. I have been in Asheville for 25 years in public service for most of it.  My time and experience in the public libraries honed in my community building skills and I’d love to utilize that talent and others to support the French Broad Food Co-op.

Nicholas “Nick” P. Fury

  1. Why are you interested in representing FBFC owners as a board member?

I relocated from Philly in April 2021. I have skills and am interested in using them as before with my local Coop. It’s ya’ll or the Tool Library. (maybe both…)

  1. What experience, education, and/or skills qualify you to serve on the FBFC Board of Directors? Please note any history of collective-decision making and/or financial responsibilities for an organization.

Treasurer, Kensington Community Food Coop (KCFC) 2018-2021 – I oversaw store opening and onset of Covid, led process for PPP & EIDL financing. 

  1. Please choose one of the cooperative principles and describe how you think the FBFC Board can encourage and foster this in a new way?

I haven’t been a member long but haven’t heard how the Coop upholds this principal.  I have some experience as we launched KCFC with #7 [concern for community] firmly in process.

Nikimbre’ Daniels

  1. Why are you interested in representing FBFC owners as a board member?

I am interested in representing FBFC owners as a board member because, it would allow me to engage and build more relationships with the owners of the community. 

  1. What experience, education, and/or skills qualify you to serve on the FBFC Board of Directors? Please note any history of collective-decision making and/or financial responsibilities for an organization.

Previous FBFC Co-op employee 

  1. Please choose one of the cooperative principles and describe how you think the FBFC Board can encourage and foster this in a new way?

Concern for community. I think the FBFC can encourage and foster this cooperative principle, by exploring what truly is community, and upholding, recognizing, remembering, that FBFC has been instrumental in creating not only community within the establishment, but also throughout the area for many years. I believe it is time the FBFC board bring that essence back to the FBFC community. 

Aine Dee

  1. Why are you interested in representing FBFC owners as a board member?

I am passionate about all things created with cooperative ownership and know that this form of shared ownership, responsibility and wealth-building is the way to constructively disengage from the current economy of Wealth Extraction we are living where personal wealth hoarding for the few supersedes the common good for all of us.  And instead we can build community wealth and more equitable resources distribution through housing and business enterprises instead of continuing to build personal or corporate wealth not benefiting all of us.  Organic and local sourcing of my own food has become a huge part of my spiritual practice and soulful embodiment.

  1. What experience, education, and/or skills qualify you to serve on the FBFC Board of Directors?

Please note any history of collective-decision making and/or financial responsibilities for an organization.

I have been a financial mentor to entrepreneurs and women who have inherited larger-than-they-have-been-used-to sums of money for decades – from my business banking, business consulting, and my own Wealth Reimagined mentoring business.  Helping them to design their own Exquisite Enough Vision and how they might meaningfully contribute more than that – and then create and tend to what that means to them in a grounded and holy way, viewing resources as a personal and collective development path.  I have bookkeeping, accounting, financial analysis, employee and client development skills and gifts.

  1. Please choose one of the cooperative principles and describe how you think the FBFC Board can encourage and foster this in a new way?

It’s hard for me to pick one that wouldn’t be enriching to explore, given how much possibility I believe cooperative principles and optimal functioning hold for a more equitable and thriving economy.  I am not an expert – just a lit-up fan (with minimal actual experience yet) of learning and living more of these principles in everything I cocreate going forward.  It would be interesting to explore how Sociocracy might enhance 3) democratic member control and 3) member economic participation.  Cross-pollination by 6) cooperation among cooperatives could also provide some best practice and mutual memberships.