TOP ROW: John Crane (General Manager, Portland Food Co-op, ME), Rachel Watrous (Store Manager, Fiddleheads Food Co-op, CT)
MIDDLE ROW: Sue Miller, President (Co-General Manager, Upper Valley Food Co-op, VT), Katharine Arnold (Board & Manager, Buffalo Mountain Food Co-op, VT), Kathleen Krider (Board of Directors, Willimantic Food Co-op, CT)
BOTTOM ROW: Michael Wells (Board of Directors, Putney Food Co-op, VT), Mary Mullally (Storekeeping Manager, Hunger Mountain Co-op, VT), Chris Whiton (Operations Manager, Littleton Food Co-op, NH)
Sue Miller, President (Co-General Manager, Upper Valley Food Co-op, White River Junction, VT)
Sue Miller has been an employee of the Upper Valley Food Co-op since 2004 and the Co-General Manager for the past 10 years. Prior to joining UVFC, she spent time as an accountant and as the owner of a small herbal products business. Also, for the past 20 years, she has been a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. When not at the UVFC or seeing patients, she loves to garden and work with the energies of nature. Sue is passionate about all things health- and food-related. She is particularly interested in helping to develop a safe, local food system in the New England region, as well as a distribution network to support a strong local economy that provides healthy food for all. Sue feels that being a Board Member of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association allows her to more actively use her skills and passion in the creation of a local food system.
John Crane, Vice President (General Manager, Portland Food Co-op, Portland, ME)
John Crane began his career in the co-operative world in 2002, when he was hired as the supplement buyer for the Rising Tide Co-op in Damariscotta, Maine. During his nine-year tenure at Rising Tide, he served as Grocery Manager, Point of Sale Manager, and Assistant General Manager. In 2012, while working as the Information Services Manager for a Portland company, he joined the Portland Food Co-op buying club (the retail store had not yet opened). He served on both the business planning and space design committees during their start-up phase and also served on the Board of Directors. In 2015, John left the Board to become the co-op’s General Manager.
Michael Wells, Secretary (Board President, Putney Food Co-op, Putney, VT)
Michael has been an active participant in food co-ops since the early seventies. He’s served on the Putney Food Co-op Board since 1990, is currently Board President, and is passionate about the Co-operative business model. Michael has been a Putney representative to the NFCA since its inception and was elected to the Board in 2015. He feels that the NFCA is a unique and successful organization that is strengthening regional Co-ops and our communities, leading the way toward a more integrated and effective Co-operative Economy. Michael is a retired building contractor.
Rachel Watrous (Fresh Departments Manager, Fiddleheads Food Co-op, CT)
Rachel has served on the staff at Fiddleheads Food Co-op since 2014, beginning as a coordinator before moving into a leadership role in the Produce Department. After around 3 years, she was selected to become the Project Manager on a kitchen buildout and then in 2018 was promoted to oversee both the Prepared Foods and Produce Department as the Fresh Department Manager and also serves as the designated Interim General Manager. She believes that it is essential for communities to influence and shape businesses and believes that co-ops are a key player in a thriving community. She values NFCA for our support and focus on a bigger picture. The NFCA is less prescriptive than some other organizations and instead holds space for member co-ops to brainstorm, hone best practices, and share information. She cares deeply about growing the co-op movement and empowering communities, and that it is important that we steward this NFCA to thrive in the future.
Katharine Arnold (Marketing & Member Relations / Director, Buffalo Mountain Co-op, Hardwick, VT)
Katharine has been involved in co-ops since the early 70s and continues to have a commitment and passion toward furthering the Co-operative Movement and the mission of NFCA. She has been part of the Collective Management Team at Buffalo Mountain Coop for over 15 years and was originally hired to open and manage their café. Currently, she is the Board-Staff liaison and the Development Manager.
Kathleen Krider (President, Willimantic Food Co-op, Willimantic, CT)
Kathleen joined Willimantic Food Co-op in 1985 and is the current Chair of the Board of Directors, a position she has held for more than ten years! Living and working in the great Northeast has shaped her values and thinking as they relate to food access in rural areas, the co-operative model in our communities, and the relationship between food and the local economy. By day Kathleen is a mild mannered (never) Nonprofit Administrator, working to serve those living in poverty and by night she is an energized participant in many of the opportunities available to those living and loving it in Northeastern Connecticut.
Mary Mullally (Storekeeping Manager, Hunger Mountain Co-op, VT)
Mary has worked at Hunger Mountain Co-op for 16 years and currently serves as Storekeeping Manager, overseeing Receiving, Facilities, the Managers on Duty, safety and security. Her time at the co-op has provided her with a sound natural food/co-operative retail background and further developed her project management and leadership skills. She particularly enjoys serving on the NFCA Board of Directors because she values working collaboratively to strengthen our cooperative economy and sustainable local food systems. She is especially proud to serve NFCA, because it works to build collaborative partnerships to make healthy food more broadly available while simultaneously supporting our local producers. She believes the more we invest in our community, the stronger and more resilient we become.
Chris Whiton (Operations Manager, Littleton Food Co-op, Littleton, NH)
Before coming to the Co-op community in 2010, Chris had a diverse twenty-year background in the conventional grocery industry. During that time, he moved from Front End management to store management, as well as performing duties as a district auditor and inventory management trainer for ten New Hampshire and Vermont stores. Arriving at the Littleton Food Co-op during its first year of business, he assisted in developing the procedures and structure for front-of-store operations, HR practices. As the store grew and expanded, he moved on to Store Operations management, helping coordinate the various departments with scheduling, ordering, and growth opportunities. When not at the Co-op, Chris enjoys maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Hiking, biking, and skiing are just a few activities he fits in between work shifts. His small photography business works to bring awareness to environmental concerns and sustainability. Being part of the co-op family has brought his focus on the need for accessible and affordable healthy food options for everyone. The support that we can lend to local growers and producers is immense, and in turn, this support will enrich our community and help promote the co-operative model.
Erbin Crowell, Executive Director, Neighboring Food Co-op Association
Erbin Crowell serves as Executive Director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA). Prior to joining the association, Erbin worked with the Cooperative Fund of New England and the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops and as an independent consultant. For more than a decade, he was a member of Equal Exchange, a worker co-operative and pioneer in the Fair Trade movement, and serves on the boards of the New England Farmers Union and the National Cooperative Business Association. Erbin holds a Master of Management: Co-operatives & Credit Unions from Saint Mary’s University in Nova Scotia where he serves as an adjunct lecturer.
Suzette Snow-Cobb, Sourcing Coordinator, Neighboring Food Co-op Association
Suzette has been involved with food co-ops since the mid 80’s. Prior to joining the NFCA, she worked for Franklin Community Co-op for 20 years and served on the board of NFCA. Suzette currently serves on the board of the Valley Co-operative Business Association and as Stakeholder Director for Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops board and holds a Master of Management: Co-operatives & Credit Unions from Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia.
Alexis Alexander, Peer Collaboration & Technical Support, Neighboring Food Co-op Association
Prior to working in co-operatives, Alexis gained experience in business and retail management, training and development, and consumer marketing research, working predominately in the supermarket and consumer packaged goods industries. She’s served as GreenStar Food Co-op’s Membership Manager since 2009, helping to increase member engagement through enhanced programming and events, and improved membership systems, tracking, and reporting processes. Alexis also lead the FLOWER healthy food access program which has benefited over 2,000 individuals and families facing financial hardship since its inception in 2010. She played an integral role in GreenStar’s multifaceted approach to diversity, equity and inclusion, which successfully increased the diversity of both GreenStar staff and membership. Alexis holds a BS in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University and an MBA from Michigan State University.