May 20, 2021
Caledonia Food Co-op Annual Meeting
Wednesday, June 16th, 6 p.m.
online via Zoom
We are pleased to invite Founding Members to the first Annual Meeting of the Caledonia Food Co-op! Attendees who RSVP will have their names entered into a drawing for a gift basket of contributions from area vendors.
Agenda
Welcome - Vice Chair, David Hale
Summary of Co-op Status - Chair, Eric Skovsted
Financial Report - Treasurer, Margaret Healey & Board Member, Rick Witt
Results of the 2021 Board of Directors Election
Closing - RSVP Gift Basket Drawing
2021 Caledonia Food Co-op
Board of Directors Online Election
Voting Is Open May 20th - June 2nd via Election Runner
This year we have eight talented candidates, including two incumbent Directors who are up for re-election.There are three seats available on the Board. They are:

  • Eric Skovsted, Founding Board Member and Current President
  • Margaret Healey, Founding Board Member and Current Treasurer
  • Ben Aresty, Founding Member
  • Mironda Meyer, Founding Member
  • Claire Polfus, Founding Member
  • Ben Reed, Founding Member
  • James Sweeney, Founding Member
  • Hannah Wigginton, Founding Member

Please Note: Founding Members are entitled to ONE vote per household. We are utilizing the software Election Runner to coordinate online voting. Each primary Founding Member in the household will receive one email from Election Runner with sign-in instructions to vote online. If you have provided us with an email address, and you do not receive an email ballot from us, please contact us at office@caledoniafood.coop. Founding Members without an email address will receive a paper ballot to complete.
Eric Skovsted, Founding Board Member (Current Chair)
Eric Skovsted has served on the board of the Caledonia Food Co-op since its inception in 2019. His chief responsibilities have included serving as board chair, overall project feasibility, grant writing, member communication, and new member outreach. 

Eric fell in love with the Northeast Kingdom when he visited his future wife’s family dairy farm in Barnet, while they were students at Middlebury. In 2009, Eric and Mary started Joe’s Brook Farm, a certified organic operation, producing crops on 20 acres of tillage. Now they sell most of their product direct to consumers, an industry term for friends and neighbors. 
“Without democratic market outlets like farmer's markets and food co-ops, Joe's Brook Farm would not exist today. I have come to realize that the value of a co-op extends well beyond equitable market access. The real value of a food co-op is found in the unifying organizational strength of shared ownership. The pride of ownership, the sense of common purpose, the ability to vote in a board of your choosing, all combine to make an organization that reflects citizen priorities and that can go to work on behalf of the community. I am excited to serve the co-op board for another term and strongly believe in the co-ops mission and potential.”  
Margaret Healey, Founding Board Member (Current Treasurer)
Currently the Treasurer, Margaret Healey is responsible for overseeing the financial matters of the Co-op and working with our financial consultant. Under her leadership, the Co-op implemented financial controls and created a Board Audit Committee to ensure fiscal responsibility and accountability. 

Margaret is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer, working for 25+ years for the U.S. Agency for International Development at U.S. Embassies in Asia and Africa as the chief administrative officer. She was the “go-to” person for all logistical matters, ensuring operations ran smoothly. She was responsible for office space, housing, maintenance staff, personnel, motor pool, information technology, and security. Margaret first came to the Northeast Kingdom in 1990 to visit family and vacation while on leave, eventually building a house and settling here upon retirement.

She spent 10+ years working for Johnson & Johnson on their accounting and financial analyst teams. She has an M.B.A. in Finance and was a Certified Management Accountant. Margaret is a Founding Board Member committed to bringing healthy food choices to our community.

“The Co-op is important to me because it will expand healthy food choices and add variety to our diet.”
Ben Aresty, Founding Member
Ben Aresty has been cooking in professional kitchens since he was a teenager. He has worked and traveled in a variety of venues, including small markets, private yachts, and in his own restaurant in the Napa Valley, focusing on local ingredients and producing a quality experience. During his time running his own place, his father passed away from a heart attack. Through this time, Ben became focused on ensuring that his food was healthy as well. Since that time, Ben has created Ytsera, which helps people connect with themselves on a deeper level, through nourishment, mindfulness, clean living, and being in service. Ben has board experience, serving two organizations: The Monarch Fund and the Stepping Stone Project.
 
Ben recently moved to Lyndonville. While researching local, organic ingredients, he came across the Caledonia Food Co-op website. He was immediately excited by the possibilities:

“I have deep passions for community and inclusion. Being a business owner and serial entrepreneur, one of the most important lessons for me has been to listen to the collective and make decisions from this place. This takes time, and in the long run, helps to build a solid foundation for any team/project. My ability to organize and create systems for large groups as well as individuals feels important for a project like this, as there will be many moving parts to the Co-op. I also see my passion for quality organic ingredients and ability to create lasting relationships will help this venture thrive for years to come.“
Mironda Meyer, Founding Member
Mironda Meyer was a successful fitness coach for many years in the Boston area, focusing on all aspects of health and wellness. She brought her expertise to the Northeast Kingdom, settling in Concord, Vermont, where she is putting down roots professionally and personally. Having access to locally grown healthy foods is the key to good health and healthy communities and she values being part of a team to support this. She became a founding member of the Caledonia Food Co-op as soon as she heard about it. The ideals of a local food co-op dovetail with how Mironda runs her own business and in her own life. Having a healthy impact in the community is important to her and giving of her time to be of service is one of her core values. Supporting the local businesses in the area is the key to growing a strong community. 

“I am in the health and wellness industry and know the value of having the Caledonia Food Co-op in our area.  I know I can contribute and add value to our board.  My mindset is to serve in the best way I can. I enjoy collaborating with others and as a small-business owner, I am not afraid to work hard and contribute the best I can. If I don’t know how to do something I ask and figure it out. The key is to really listen to the want and needs of our members. We have so many local resources in our own backyard that having the Caledonia Food Co-Op will be invaluable as it will allow consumers a way to enjoy these local products and support our community’s growth. I see our Caledonia Food Co-Op bringing us together as a hub to not only have local products available but also to have opportunities to learn about a variety of different topics as workshops become available.”
Claire Polfus, Founding Member
Claire Polfus has had a diverse career working in natural resources, recreation, and community development across New England and the western United States. She moved to Sheffield, Vermont in 2019. She is the Project Director for a small L3C mapping company, the Center for Community GIS, and has worked on multiple projects across the NEK including a kiosk and interactive map for the town of Brighton, NEKgravel.org and Trailfinder.info. She has served on the boards of the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust and the Wilton Free Public Library in Wilton, Maine. She has also worked for and with various non-profits in the conservation and recreation sectors, gaining experience and familiarity with Board processes and expectations.

Claire hopes to bring her experience and new perspective to the Caledonia Food Coop Board:

“I love living in Caledonia County because it is a place where wild forests mix with local agriculture; where I can follow fisher tracks on a ski trail in the cold of winter and return home to a hearty soup made with vegetables grown just miles from my house. I think a co-op in Caledonia County would make local food, and the connection it brings to the landscape, accessible to more of my neighbors. I believe that the co-op model and its emphasis on healthy and vital communities and community members fits the needs of Caledonia County well.”
Ben Reed, Founding Member
Ben Reed is a local realtor with Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty. Prior to his work in real estate, he spent several years working at various institutions in their accounting and finance departments. During his time at Saint Johnsbury Academy, he chaired a search committee for a new food service with a priority of integrating locally sourced foods. This has been beneficial to all constituents. Ben currently volunteers his time with NEK Young Professional Network. Serving on the Strategic Planning and NEK Welcome Wagon project subcommittees, he is dedicated to making the Northeast Kingdom a compelling place for people to live and work.

“Since moving to the area in 2014, my family has been loyal supporters of local food producers by participating in several CSAs including a meat CSA, a cheese and dairy CSA, and a handful of produce CSAs. Additionally, we are faithful attendees at the local farmer’s market throughout the summer months. One of the main reasons that I am excited about the Caledonia Food Co-op is the opportunity to continue connecting with and supporting local producers year-round. My professional work highlights my skills as an analytical thinker, and I believe that my strengths in organization and trustworthiness will be assets to the Board moving forward.”
James Sweeney, Founding Member
James Sweeney and his family recently moved to St. Johnsbury from Seattle. He is currently the chief technical officer of a family run chocolatier, with a decade working with all facets of technology: infrastructure and the integrations for multiple retail locations, e-commerce and on the production floor. He has selected, deployed, and managed the technologies for all of the behind-the-scenes systems, ensuring productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction. “Doing my job right means everyone else's focus can be where it should be - on products, relationships, service and the community.”

James has worked with numerous boards and other technology companies as a founding CTO, currently as a consultant. He has never worked with a food co-op; his family held memberships at multiple co-ops in Seattle. He and his wife chose to relocate their family seeking more community. They joined the Co-op as founding members the moment they learned of it.
 
“I'm interested in serving on the Co-op's Board of Directors because I would like to be involved in building something that serves this community, as a Co-op will. I would be very happy to help with the technological systems architecture that will become a to-do list item as the Co-op continues forward.”
Hannah Wiggington, Founding Member
Hannah Wigginton is originally from Indiana, but has also resided in Ohio, Argentina, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Colorado. She arrived in the Northeast Kingdom three years ago and has really taken to the area and its people. In her job with the United States Department of Agriculture, Hannah works with farmers and landowners to address natural resource concerns on their land. She is involved in the St. Johnsbury Shambhala Center as well as the Center for Restorative Justice. Hannah spends the rest of her free time gardening, fixing things around her house, and exploring the trails in the area by foot or by bike.
 
Hannah is hoping to bring her skills of leadership, listening, open-mindedness, and collaboration to the Co-op board. Last year she finished a five-month-long leadership institute with the Northwoods Stewardship Center. During this course she was able to focus her leadership skillset and utilize it more often at her workplace and beyond. At work she serves on the civil rights advisory council and chairs several committees. Hannah is passionate about local, sustainable, and organic food and would thrive as a member on this board and investing time and effort into her local community.
 
"Food may not be the answer to world peace, but it’s a start." 
- Anthony Bourdain
We hope you can join us!
www.caledoniafood.coop