2019 Board Election – September 9 through October 9

CLICK HERE TO VOTE!



Proposed Article & Bylaw Changes

VFC Articles & Bylaws

The VFC Board of Directors recommends approving the following Article & Bylaw changes. Owners will vote Yes or No on each item. Language recommended to be removed is crossed out. The recommended update is in green text below.

  • Item 1 and Item 2 are recommended so that VFC owner shares are fully refundable and transferrable.
  • Item 3 is a change to Article V to increase the number of Class C shares available for member investments.

Owners will vote Yes or No on each item.

Item 1: When someone purchases a VFC Ownership they purchase two $25 Class A shares and one $25 Class B share (voting stock). Class A ownership shares are refundable and Class B ownership shares are not. It is recommended that the membership have the right to receive a refund of Class B ownership shares.

Article V New Language:

“Class B – Class B stock shall be the membership stock of the cooperative. Class B stock shall be issued only to a person eligible to become a member of the cooperative as prescribed by the Articles and the cooperative’s Bylaws. Each member shall hold only one share of Class B stock and each eligible holder shall be entitled to one vote in any meeting of the stockholders. No dividends shall be paid on Class B stock. The Bylaws of this cooperative may specify that a holder of Class B stock may cease to be an eligible member by violation of conditions of membership as specified by the Bylaws. Class B stock is non-refundable stock. Class B stock is refundable stock.

 

Item 2: It is recommended that the membership have the right to transfer Class A and B ownership shares and retained patronage as approved by the Board of Directors on a case-by-case basis.

Bylaw Section 3.2 New Language:

“Class A and B ownership shares and retained patronage refunds are non-transferable, except as approved by the Board of Directors.”

 

Item 3: With overwhelming interest and support in Class C, we see the potential for more member investments than we currently have to sell. Increased Class C shares help us to pay future interest to investors and can reduce the amount needed to borrow from other lenders if necessary.

Unsold shares pose no risk to the Co-op. The membership sets the upper limit of the stock; the Board decides when, and how many shares to issue, within that limit.

ARTICLE V New Language:

The cooperative is organized with capital stock in the following classes:

Class A:
10,000 shares -
$25.00 par value/share

Class B:
5,000 shares -
$25.00 par value/share

Class C:
117,000
127,000 shares -
$25.00
par value/share


Correction: Item #3

There is an error in the information for item 3. The information should read:
Class A: 14,000 shares- $25.00 par value per share
Class B: 7,000 shares- $25.00 par value per share

No vote is being taken on the number of Class A or B shares

The information for Class C shares, which is the actual item being voted on, is correct. 


7 Board Candidates
3 Open Board Seats

Each board term is three years.
Voters can select up to three on ballot.

click here to see all video introductions as listed below


Daniel Kaatz – NEW CANDIDATE


Why are you interested in serving on the VFC's Board of Directors?

I am interested in serving on the VFC's Board of Directors because democratic participation is paramount in shaping our community and creating a future we can all be proud of.

What skills do you bring to a Board of a $7+ million business? Be sure to note any relevant business experience you possess and/or positions of leadership in finance, community involvement, cooperatives, education and/or boards.

In my current role as Quality Systems Manager at Nature's International Certification Services (NICS), I practice sound, rational decision-making, taking into account varied viewpoints from myriad stakeholders and creating common-sense, agreeable solutions to advance the organic industry. My goal is to continue this leadership as a VFC Director, considering the interests of owners, management, employees, our farmers and suppliers, and the greater clean-food movement. My formal education background includes a Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University where I studied social policy, education, and mathematics.

What do you feel are the primary challenges and/or opportunities facing the Viroqua Food Co+op and how could you help to meet such challenges/opportunities?

The primary challenge facing the Viroqua Food Co+op is continuing to grow our community's access to healthy food. I alone do not have a perfect solution, but together we can undoubtedly meet this End by tapping into our collective creativity and engaging not only the VFC's ownership but also those in the greater Viroqua area and beyond.

What is your favorite thing to buy at the VFC?

My favorite thing to buy at the VFC depends on the day of the week. On weekdays, I love starting my day with a hot breakfast sandwich. On weekends, I prefer a sourdough baguette and sausage from Driftless Provisions to enjoy with friends.

I have read and agree to abide by Viroqua Food Co+op's Board Policy G.3 Code of Conduct and any subsequent changes the Board makes to that policy: 

Check box.jpgI have signed the VFC Board of Directors Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Agreement Form.



Patty Kinsey – NEW CANDIDATE

 

Why are you interested in serving on the VFC's Board of Directors?

Lifetime interest in health, through exercise and nutrition is part of the reason of interest to serve on the Board for VFC. This extends to natural and organic goods being available to all consumers. I enjoy helping and motivating others in a positive way to live and feel better day to day. I am a planner, a doer and think ahead. These qualities can benefit VFC, its members and the community.

What skills do you bring to a Board of a $7+ million business? Be sure to note any relevant business experience you possess and/or positions of leadership in finance, community involvement, cooperatives, education and/or boards.

I have worked 9-1/2 yrs in Marketing at Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc. in Milwaukee, also continued nearly 30 years working between both Lowe Mfg. Co. Inc. and LaFarge Medical Clinic as a receptionist, kept me in connection with general public and customer needs with satisfaction. Thinking positive connections, that give results to satisfy, brings a smile to the conclusion. I have enjoyed instructing an exercise class for 32 years in the community of Viola/LaFarge area. Keeping my CPR current, up to date exercises, and continuous blood donation at blood drives, as an outreach to help those in need. It pleases me to help others feel better through exercise. We also have raised grass fed Highland Beef Cattle for 13 yrs and have always raised a vegetable garden.

What do you feel are the primary challenges and/or opportunities facing the Viroqua Food Coop and how could you help to meet such challenges/opportunities?

I believe a primary challenge is nutritional foods and goods at a marketable price to retain or improve customer base. In addition, reaching out to new customers to increase customer base and inform the public that is is not needed to be a member to shop at VFC. Continued recipes, attractive presentation, events for consumers, and involvement in the community will keep VFC as a source for return sales.

What is your favorite thing to buy at the VFC?

My favorite thing(s) to buy is the fresh vegetables (carrots!) and bulk (dry) goods..

I have read and agree to abide by Viroqua Food Co+op's Board Policy G.3 Code of Conduct and any subsequent changes the Board makes to that policy: 

Check box.jpgI have signed the VFC Board of Directors Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Agreement Form.


 
Mark McCraw – NEW CANDIDATE

 

Why are you interested in serving on the VFC's Board of Directors?

I have had a couple of members ask me to run for the Board. It seems obvious to me that the Co-op has been run quite well to date. The existence of a strong food cooperative was important in the decision to buy a home in Viroqua in 2015. I am a member of the Outpost Natural Foods Co-op in Milwaukee (since 1988) and Willy Street Co-op in Madison (since 2004).

What skills do you bring to a Board of a $7+ million business? Be sure to note any relevant business experience you possess and/or positions of leadership in finance, community involvement, cooperatives, education and/or boards.

I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a member in good standing of the AICPA. I've worked on a contract basis for a Dairy Co-Op (farmer-owned) in Madison; as an Accounting Supervisor for a manufacturer in Wisconsin with over 7,000 employees; and was employed as the Controller for software and data company with over 150 employees. I'm the Treasurer for the non-profit New Harvest Foundation, Inc. I graduated with a degree in Economics and Business Administration from the U of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

What do you feel are the primary challenges and/or opportunities facing the Viroqua Food Co+op and how could you help to meet such challenges/opportunities?

Viroqua seems to be at the center of the organic food movement in the Midwest. The opportunity is obvious, and has been used to advantage throughout the Co+op's recent history. The challenges include the balance between price and demand. I.e., making sure members can afford food and the producers can stay in business to continue to provide good food.

What is your favorite thing to buy at the VFC?

WiscoPop! ... grapefruit flavor. Or, Deep Rooted tomatoes. Or bulk whole hulled oats. I can't decide.

I have read and agree to abide by Viroqua Food Co+op's Board Policy G.3 Code of Conduct and any subsequent changes the Board makes to that policy: 

Check box.jpgI have signed the VFC Board of Directors Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Agreement Form.



Olive Reynolds – NEW CANDIDATE


Why are you interested in serving on the VFC's Board of Directors?

I have lived in Viroqua for six years and have found myself enthralled by this community. I have grown as a person through the experiences gained, and the people I have met. I have been given much during my time here, and I would like to become more involved and start giving back. The Co0op is an incredible asset to the community and a priceless resource for not only consumers, but for producers as well.

What skills do you bring to a Board of a $7+ million business? Be sure to note any relevant business experience you possess and/or positions of leadership in finance, community involvement, cooperatives, education and/or boards.

As I have said, the Co-op is a priceless resource for our area farmers, who are the foundation that the Viroqua Food Co+op is built on. My formal education in business management, finance and the culinary arts, combined with years of agricultural experience around the world, has given me a skillset that the Co-op will find to be an invaluable resource. My time working with the rural farming community as a financial advisor during the recession off 2008 showed me the hardships faced by our producers here in Wisconsin, and has allowed me the opportunity to see a side of agriculture that few often do. As a member of the Viroqua Food Co+op Board of Directors, I hope to be a voice for producers who have the Co-op as a key market. By using my experience and skills to contribute to the success of the Co-op, I can help to ensure the success of the local producers we depend on so much.

What do you feel are the primary challenges and/or opportunities facing the Viroqua Food Co+op and how could you help to meet such challenges/opportunities?

I see the greatest challenge for the continued success of the Co-op is to provide an affordable price to consumers and a respectable price to our producers. The need to provide quality products and service to the area while adapting to an ever changing local and global economy will only continue to grow. It is paramount to continue to be proactive in the community and stay connected with what is needed and desired by the consumers and producers. My time with the post office has quite literally taken me door to door within this community, and has given me the opportunity to communicate with many people from different backgrounds and walks of life. My ability to listen to the needs and concerns of a wide range of individuals, with respect and understanding will be a valuable skill that I can bring to the board.

What is your favorite thing to buy at the VFC?

This is such a hard question. I love so many things!!! Coffee, Wisco Pop, chocolate! I would have to say the one thing I always have on hand is the Brown Cow cream on top yogurt. So delicious!

I have read and agree to abide by Viroqua Food Co+op's Board Policy G.3 Code of Conduct and any subsequent changes the Board makes to that policy: 

Check box.jpgI have signed the VFC Board of Directors Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Agreement Form.



Eric Snowdeal – INCUMBENT

 

Why are you interested in serving on the VFC's Board of Directors?

I love co-ops! Twenty years ago, I joined my first food co-op, the Olympia Food Co-op in Olympia Washington, because I believed passionately in the cooperative mission and supporting the local and organic food movements. My wife and I were in college without a lot of extra spending money and didn’t have a car in part because we wanted to be able to vote with the few dollars we had at the co-op. It was transformative experience to support the wonderful co-op and the products they carried. We have been a members of food co-ops continuously ever since and voting with our dollars all along the way. I am being completely serious when I say the VFC was one of the reasons my family moved to Viroqua 13 years ago. We knew if a small town could support such an incredible co-op it must be a special place. I would love the opportunity to continue to serve on the VFC board for another term and support its role of providing leadership, vision, and guidance for our cooperative.

What skills do you bring to a Board of a $7+ million business? Be sure to note any relevant business experience you possess and/or positions of leadership in finance, community involvement, cooperatives, education and/or boards.

I have worked at Organic Valley for 13 years and for nearly all that time have been in the marketing department as a brand manager with oversight of OV’s milk and cream product lines. A brand manager is basically a “business owner” with responsibility of understanding consumers, the ever changing competitive and retail landscapes, the financials of the business and translate that knowledge into strategies for profitable growth. Over the past 13 years I have developed a deep understanding of the organic and natural foods consumer and the grocery retail business. It’s been an honor and a privilege to have a played a role in supporting the growth of CROPP cooperative (as part of a great team! ) and I believe my experience and knowledge could be a benefit to the co-op as the grocery retail business undergoes rapid change in the very near future.

What do you feel are the primary challenges and/or opportunities facing the Viroqua Food Co+op and how could you help to meet such challenges/opportunities?

The biggest challenge the co-op faces in the next 2 years ( and beyond ) is becoming complacent based on past success. Ten years ago, the VFC was the only place to find a broad selection of local and organic products. Today that is no longer the case and the trend will continue to accelerate. Milk and eggs are responsible for 20% of trips to the grocery store which is why it’s no surprise a local gas station and convenience store has started offering organic milk and eggs at a very affordable price!  Other local retailers will continue to expand their ever growing selection of natural and organic products and sooner rather than later Viroqua residents will be able to order same day home delivery of many of the items found in the co-op at competitive price. To compete in the future, the VFC will need to make right investments in the right areas to continue to surprise and delight customers in ways other retailers cannot and to get the message out about what makes the co-op unique. While I’m proud to have served on the board during the expansion, getting bigger is only a part of the answer to address the challenges posed by the changing retail landscape. If elected I would bring a unique skill-set to the board to help guide the co-op through the challenges.

What is your favorite thing to buy at the VFC?

I really enjoy the quality and selection of the produce and bulk products.

I have read and agree to abide by Viroqua Food Co+op's Board Policy G.3 Code of Conduct and any subsequent changes the Board makes to that policy: 

Check box.jpgI have signed the VFC Board of Directors Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Agreement Form.



Julie Tomaro – NEW CANDIDATE

 
Why are you interested in serving on the VFC's Board of Directors?

Community is not a static thing, it is always changing and evolving. It is shaped by the hands of those who participate. I am always seeking ways to contribute to my community, from organizing parent/child groups and activities to many years of helping the Harvest Parade get off the ground. I love the Viroqua community and all its potential. I feel the same way about the Viroqua Food Co+op. I want to be one of the people helping it evolve, both now and into the future.

What skills do you bring to a Board of a $7+ million business? Be sure to note any relevant business experience you possess and/or positions of leadership in finance, community involvement, cooperatives, education and/or boards.

Several months after Hurricane Katrina I got the opportunity to volunteer with a nontraditional grass-roots disaster relief organization called Emergency Communities. I spent nearly thirteen months leading the inventory and receiving department of an organization consisting of a hundred volunteers, serving several hundred returning residents daily. We supplied hot meals, internet access, household items and house gutting. I spent much of that year working out logistics amongst my organization, local residents and aid groups as well as some government agencies.

What do you feel are the primary challenges and/or opportunities facing the Viroqua Food Co+op and how could you help to meet such challenges/opportunities?

First let's talk about opportunities. I believe the VFC is the hub of our community in many ways, this gives us so many ways to reach out and connect with so many people. Through that connection we can do some pretty powerful things, things we haven't dreamed of, things where the need hasn't yet presented itself. Just by our sheer connectedness our abilities are awesome.

Of course with being so connected to so many people some feathers are sure to be ruffled or downright crimped. I followed, with interest, some long public expressions of frustration with aspects of the Co-op. I think, at the root of much of this frustration are growing pains. During this time of growth and expansion we must work extra hard to maintain the core values that caused the formation of the VFC in the first place, while recognizing that we are the primary shopping location for many people in our community, and must meet diverse needs. This is a challenge that must be faced, but through openness, communication and a lot of work we can find a way. It's worth it.

What is your favorite thing to buy at the VFC?

My favorite thing to buy at the Co-op is the kombucha on tap. My young boys and I love to occasionally share a mug after shopping. Three reasons I love it are

  • I can use a reusable mug, eliminating the need for any packaging.
  • I can get a perfect portion size for the three of us.
  • Rotating flavors means it won't get boring.

I have read and agree to abide by Viroqua Food Co+op's Board Policy G.3 Code of Conduct and any subsequent changes the Board makes to that policy: 

Check box.jpgI have signed the VFC Board of Directors Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Agreement Form.



Tonya Wagner – NEW CANDIDATE

 

Why are you interested in serving on the VFC's Board of Directors?

I would be honored to serve on the Viroqua Food Co+op Board. What an amazing gift it would be to be able to play a central role in such a wonderful cooperative. My interest stems from my commitment to serve the community I live in through helping foster positive relationships, increasing access to high quality local food and developing community resiliency. I have a decade of executive leadership experience in both the private and public sector, and believe that I could be a positive contributor. Helping lead through service is one of my core values.

What skills do you bring to a Board of a $7+ million business? Be sure to note any relevant business experience you possess and/or positions of leadership in finance, community involvement, cooperatives, education and/or boards.

During my time as an executive leader, I have developed a range of skills relevant to leading and managing complex institutions. I have had formal leadership development training and mentorship, have helped lead strategic planning at a large public institution, helped dozens of teams develop annual  planning documents, managed multi-million dollar budgets, participated in legal and human resource training, and have helped develop others in to leadership roles. I am a skilled facilitator, have a strong ethic and lead with compassion. I am comfortable having hard conversations and working through difficult issues. In addition, I have a strong background in curriculum development, have created a number of certificate trainings and educational training programs for the Wisconsin Technical College System. From 2016-2017, I was the treasurer for the Wisconsin Association of Marketing and Business Administrators. I have participated in dozens of academic advisory committees and currently serve on the Sales Management Advisory Committee at Western Technical College. I would be delighted to have the opportunity to bring my experience to bare at VFC..

What do you feel are the primary challenges and/or opportunities facing the Viroqua Food Coop and how could you help to meet such challenges/opportunities?

One of the biggest challenges VFC faces is fully embodying the new space. I can see so many opportunities for expanded community development and education. I am creative, critical thinker with significant background in programming and educational development. I believe I could help the team envision what could be and develop a fiscally sound plan for achieving the development goals. The increase in local produce in the new space has been a remarkable achievement and I look forward to helping scale these efforts.

What is your favorite thing to buy at the VFC?

My favorite thing to buy at the Co-op is bulk almond butter – it is so fun, so tasty and so simple.

I have read and agree to abide by Viroqua Food Co+op's Board Policy G.3 Code of Conduct and any subsequent changes the Board makes to that policy: 

Check box.jpgI have signed the VFC Board of Directors Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Agreement Form.


 

Board Candidacy FAQ's

[fa icon="plus-square"] Have you ever considered running for the VFC Board?

Our ownership is diverse and talented. We know that many of you are qualified and willing to serve. Serving on the VFC Board is a responsibility and an opportunity open to all VFC Owners in good standing*.

Within the cooperative structure, VFC Owners, Management, and the Board each have their own particular duties to perform. Guided by the mission statement and goals of the Co-op, the Board concentrates on strategic decision making, long-term planning, and on the business's financial soundness. An active, well-qualified board is essential to a healthy co-op.

*Good standing: membership must be paid in full and in applicant’s name, not the name of another member of your household.

[fa icon="plus-square"] What commitment is required?
  • A solid 3-year commitment to the VFC Board.
  • Familiarity with and adherence to VFC’s Bylaws and Board policies (training provided).
  • Preparation for and attendance at all monthly Board meetings (time commitment of approximately 6-10 hours per month).
  • Attendance at Board training sessions (1-2 weekends annually; overnight travel may be required).
  • Attendance at the Annual Owners Meeting every year, typically in October.
  • An ability to actively and regularly participate via email, including transmittal of potentially large attachment documents.
  • Active participation in the Board’s meetings, committee work, engagement events, training sessions and recruiting activities.
  • Ability to understand financial statements (training provided).
  • A genuine interest in cooperative issues and our community.
  • A willingness to take responsibility for Board duties and work together with understanding, mutual support, and respect to make decisions that will enhance the viability of VFC.
  • An ability and willingness to keep information and materials confidential.
[fa icon="plus-square"] What are Board Candidacy qualifications?
  • You must be a VFC Owner in good standing*. 
    *Good standing: memb
    ership must be paid in full and in applicant’s name, not the name of another member of your household.

  • All potential applicants are required to attend at least one Board meeting in order to see how the Board conducts business. This can be any meeting before/by June 20, 2018. See the right side of this page for more information on Board meeting times and location.

  • Read and fill out the Prospective Board Member Guide and Code of Conduct, as well as the Board Application, by 5pm on Friday, June 29, 2018. These must be completed and submitted online. Please send it to Vice President Karen Mischel at mischelluv@gmail.com. However, if for some reason the electronic medium fails, you are free to cut and paste your application into any word processing or email format available to you. Communication for the nominations process is via email and it is your responsibility to regularly check your email during the nominations process.

  • You must commit to attend monthly meetings starting as soon as September 2018.

  • If accepted as a candidate, you will have your photo taken by a staff photographer and may be asked to participate in a short video interview, which will be available on the elections page of VFC’s website.

  • All applicants must be at least 18 years old as of June 29, 2018 and have no prior felony convictions (due to liquor license requirements in Vernon County).

If elected, you must attend the following:

  • Annual Owners Meeting – Wednesday, October 9, 2019

  • First Board meeting on October 17, 2018

  • Board Orientation Session – late October (date TBD)
[fa icon="plus-square"] Are VFC Board Members compensated?
Per Bylaw Section IV, 4.9: Directors shall be compensated by a $100 per month VFC gift card. The President shall receive a $125 per month VFC gift card.
[fa icon="plus-square"] What are the three primary responsibilities?
  • To ensure sound management of the Co-op resources
  • To act as trustees on behalf of VFC Owners
  • To set long-range goals and to plan for the future
[fa icon="plus-square"] Important to know while on the Board...

The Directors who serve on our Board are the legal stewards of the Co-op. They are owners of VFC who are elected by the other owners to act on their behalf to fulfill the obligations that come with owning a business.

The Board provides leadership, vision and guidance for our Cooperative. It ensures that the needs of the owners are being met. The Board is primarily responsible for protecting co-op assets for the owners (fiduciary responsibility). Directors are expected to act in good faith and in the best interests of the Cooperative as a whole.

The Board is also obliged to respond to changes in the economic environment, the ownership base, and the financial status of the Cooperative. This means that policies that are in effect when you join the Co-op may be changed by actions of the Board.

[fa icon="plus-square"] Campaign rules...
  • Candidates may not solicit the support of any VFC Employee.

  • Candidates may not use the VFC website or VFC email system to campaign. Additionally, in order to protect our owners’ privacy, no candidate may obtain or use any VFC Owner database.

  • Candidates are encouraged to use their individual social media pages or accounts to campaign.

  • Candidates who accept campaign funding or in-kind support from other organizations may be violating the Board’s Conflict of Interest policies and must report that outside source to the Board president at the time of receipt. Unreported outside funding or in-kind support may be grounds for removal from the Board after election.

Ask VFC Board Vice President Karen Mischel if you have any further questions by emailing her at: mischelluv@gmail.com