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Greetings from the top of a windswept farm on a knoll in Walden. I am a candidate for one of the two positions on the board of the Buffalo Mtn. Food Co-op in Hardwick, Vt. Living on my family’s homestead at 1,500 feet, I am an 18 year old grower in our mosaic of orchards, vegetable gardens, fields, and perennial food landscapes. I work in my family’s landscape design and build business, and graduated from high school this spring as a lifelong home-schooled student. Even as I am helping my family bring in our potato, squash and bean harvests this fall, I will be attending my first semester at the Community College of Vermont full time, working towards my two year degree in Environmental science.
I grew up on a small permaculture farm on the Stillaguamish river in western Washington state in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. My parents homeschooled my brother and me in the Waldorf tradition, and raised us growing, eating, and understanding the importance of whole, organic, and seasonal foods. Life on our farm was woven into our education; growing most of our own food, raising chickens, sheep, cows and pigs, playing music, and saving seeds from our vegetables and herbs. On the winter Solstice, 2018, my family moved to Vermont, putting down roots on our new farm in Walden.
I wish to recognize the founders, creators, and nurturers of the Buffalo Mtn. Food Co-op, and their dedication and effort that has given our community this amazing resource. Growing up on a family farm has taught me the importance of hard work and commitment to excellence in every task I undertake. Beyond this, I am committed to our community owned and operated Co-op and its foundation in education, health issues, and a compassionate work environment. As a youth in today’s ever changing climate, both literally and figuratively, my vision of the Co-op in the next twenty years is to see it in its new location with more parking, easier access, improved cafe space, and greater buying and selling capacity, all of this not only allowing the Co-op to increase and expand affordability and the demographic of people served, but also to increase our bottom line.
Though I am eternally grateful for the space that has housed the Co-op for three decades, as a voice of the youth who will be the next generation using our Co-op, I think the move is our most sustainable option. I hope to bring a voice of the youth onto the board of the Buffalo Mtn. Food Co-op, and humbly ask for your vote.
Jaquelyn Rieke hopes to bring to the board her experience in coop expansions, the local food chain, finance, and specific practices for effective collaboration. She lives in Marshfield, where she stewards 23 acres of public-use lands at Onion River Campground, the developing home of an inclusive, multi-family work/live community. Jaquelyn moved to Vermont in 2003 from the midwest, where she immediately experienced a sense of “feeling at home” because of the deep relationship of Vermonters to the land, their gardens, wood heat, outdoor recreation and the like. That same year, she started Nutty Steph’s Vermont Granola which blossomed over 18 years to become Rabble-Rouser Chocolate & Craft Co., a worker-owned cooperative with an inclusive staff of 28 people. In her personal time, Rieke enjoys writing, reading, philosophy, weed, nurturing long term friendships, cycling, dancing alone at home, and regular dates with her loving husband, Rauli Fernandez.
I joined the co-op as a member when I moved to Vermont with my family in 2011. We have spent 9 of those years in Hardwick, where my two young kids are now students at HES. I’m passionate about local foodsheds and the ways that a community can feed and sustain itself, and do so with care for each other and the earth. I am a parent, baker, home gardener, potter, and the Development Manager at the Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick. After serving on the BMFC board for the past two years, I look forward to the possibility of moving the Co-op into a more spacious and accessible location that brings an opportunity to welcome and provide for more members of our community.
Heather, who is a 19-year Hardwick resident, has an M.A. in Sustainable Development. She has worked on community projects with the Center for an Agricultural Economy, the Hardwick Farmers’ Market, and the Hardwick Zoning/Development Review Board. Heather is a current Board member and has been an active Co-op member since around 2000, but remembers her first visit to the Co-op in the summer of 1991. She describes community development, and economic justice and empowerment as long-term passions, and is dedicated to working toward a world where every person has access to their basic needs so that they can not only survive, but also thrive.