2021 Board Election

Owners vote: September 20 - October 20, 2021

CLICK HERE TO VOTE starting 12Noon – Monday, September 20


VFC Board Recommends a Bylaw Change

Original language is listed below. The Board-recommended updates are in green text along with the justification for the change. 

Voters will vote "yes" or "no" regarding this language change.


Current Language: Bylaw Section IV, 4.8
Directors shall be compensated by a $100 per month VFC gift card. The President shall receive a $125 per month VFC gift card.

New Language: Bylaw Section IV, 4.8
Directors shall be compensated by a $150 per month VFC gift card. The Vice President shall receive a $175 per month VFC gift card. The President shall receive a $200 per month VFC gift card.

Justification:

  • The last increase to the Board stipend was in 2007. VFC’s growth year over year demands more time and greater responsibilities.
     

Three open board seats this year!

There are four candidates running in this year's election.

    • Three candidates are running for 2 open 3-year terms.

    • One candidate is running for 1 open 1-year term. 


Candidates are listed in alphabetical order below.
Those running for the 3-year terms are listed first.


 

Peter Bergquist – Incumbent

Running for 3-year term

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.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 1) What is your motivation to serve on the Viroqua Food Co+op Board of Directors and what do you hope to gain through your participation on the Board?

The VFC is an integral part of our vibrant community and our local food economy. As a Board member and representative of its member-owners it is a privilege to serve the interest of the VFC mission to provide access to healthy and sustainable food. Having access to high quality and local food is what brought me to this community. As a board member I will continue to do the work needed to uphold the democratic principles of our cooperative so that it best serves the community. It is our responsibility, as members of the community and the VFC, to sustain and grow the value we create together.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 2) Describe what skills and experience you have that will help you be an effective Director.

I have served on the Board of Directors for almost 6 years, currently serving as Board President. Outside of serving on the VFC Board of Directors I am a small business owner and manage Oppen Works, a local manufacturing and fabrication business. I co-founded and operated Shade Haven, a livestock shade manufacturer, from 2012 to 2020. I have provided consulting and technical support to startup businesses locally. I briefly served on the Viroqua City Council in 2020 as an appointed member. I have worked and volunteered as a coach with the Driftless United Athletics Soccer Program and served on its board. I obtained my bachelor’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2012.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 3) 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 challenges the VFC faces is adapting to the changing landscape of retail grocery, agriculture, and food systems, attracting new members and shoppers, and maintaining a strong connection with its members and its community. The competitive grocery retail market poses a challenge – not only to VFC, but cooperatives across the U.S. in order continue being able to offer price-competitive foods while offering high value and nutritious foods locally. Because of our unique advantage, with one of the highest concentrations of organic producers in our area, the VFC is positioned to provide high quality local food products to its community. As a member of National Co+op Grocers we have the support and experience of hundreds of other coops to keep us competitive through our purchasing program and knowledge of important trends in the industry to make informed decisions for the future of our Co-op.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 4) Through the mission set out in our Ends Statement, what is your vision for the future of Viroqua Food Co+op?

That the Co-op continues to provide healthy choices for customers and members at a low price point through our basi¢s program. That we continue to support local vendors through our Microlending Initiative, and expand the fund to provide more opportunities for local vendors, so that we may grow together to support our local food shed. That the Coop continues to be a hub where members and customers can connect and participate in our local food economy, and supports a diverse community.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 5) What is your favorite thing to buy at the VFC?
Take-n-bake pizzas.

Elizabeth Tigan – Incumbent

Running for 3-year term

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.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 1) What is your motivation to serve on the Viroqua Food Co+op Board of Directors and what do you hope to gain through your participation on the Board?

I have appreciated the past three years of service to the VFC and the opportunity to play a role in how the Co-op works. We are VERY fortunate to live where we live and have this amazing resource available to us. I am glad to be a part of making sure the Co-op "meets the ends" statement which loosely translates to: the VFC exists so that our community is empowered and... has access to socially and environmentally responsible products and services; and... we have access to health food; and... we have a flourishing cooperative economy; and... we have a sustainable environment. I am very proud that through it all we are meeting our end goals.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 2) Describe what skills experience you have that will help you be an effective Director.

The first three years of being on the VFC Board have just been getting my feet wet to the world of policy governance and working with other board members and our General Manager and I hope to continue that experience. I have been involved in the organic food and grocery world since I was just out of college. My current work in organic certification has me involved in compliance audits and program management and holds me accountable to a global audience and that knowledge has been helpful for understanding the process we do when we review policies each month.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 3) 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?

Our primary challenge of the moment is making sure we can move through our latest hurdle of the pandemic and into an operating and flourishing cooperative organization within the community. We know that our climate is changing and food prices are not dropping. We need to find ways to continue to meet the needs of our member-owners while meeting our Ends Policies and figure out ways to support our community. I can help because I know that this is part of the mission of my life – feed the people and nurture the planet and our communities.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 4) Through the mission set out in our Ends Statement, what is your vision for the future of Viroqua Food Co+op?

Our Global Ends Statement provides a guideline for an equitable and sustainable food future for our community where our membership is empowered. Empowered to WHAT? Our highest goal is that our community has access to healthy food, but our overarching aim and purpose as a cooperative is to sustain ourselves as a cooperative economy of educated and sustainable stewards. My vision for the future includes finding more ways to attain that goal outside the Co-op's walls while continuing to support our central expression – the VFC itself.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 5) What is your favorite thing to buy at the VFC?

My recent favorite is the chicken sausages made at our own deli. This has been a product I have been dreaming about since the expansion started and it is so exciting to see our dreams come true...


Steve Tippins – New Candidate

Running for 3-year term

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.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 1) What is your motivation to serve on the Viroqua Food Co+op Board of Directors and what do you hope to gain through your participation on the Board?

Seven years ago we moved out of Vernon County for adventures in Costa Rica and Oregon. We moved back just over a year ago and I am ready to reengage in the community that we love. I want to be part of the post-Pandemic reenvisioning of how the Co-op fits in the community.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 2) Describe what skills and experience you have that will help you be an effective Director.

I served on the Board of the VFC for six years, right after the first new building. I have been Treasurer, VP, and President. The Microlending program was my initiative. In addition, I was a Business professor for 30 years in the area of Finance. I was on the Board when Policy Governance was put in place and am familiar with how it works.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 3) 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?

During the Pandemic we saw many parts of our community suffer and much divisiveness. The Co-op is ideally situated to help the healing process begin. Additionally, while our Co-op has a wonderful reputation, we need to be thinking about living wages for all employees and the farmers and vendors who supply the Co-op. I hope that the Co-op can become an even more open and welcoming place.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 4) Through the mission set out in our Ends Statement, what is your vision for the future of Viroqua Food Co+op?

The Ends statement is an aspirational document that leaves plenty of room for growth. It seems that the Co-op does a good job providing healthy food. Now it is time to fully embody the remainder of the Ends statements and help a cooperative economy grow and the community create more sustainability.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 5) What is your favorite thing to buy at the VFC?

I go to the Co-op for the food and the community. Naming just one thing is impossible but if pushed, I would say that my favorite thing is the possibilities that lay in front of the Co-op.


Andrew Anderson – Appointed

Running for the 1 open 1-year term

The Board appointed Andrew Anderson to fill a vacancy from July-September 2021. Andrew is now presented on the ballot for the remaining 1-year of the term.

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.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 1) What is your motivation to serve on the Viroqua Food Co+op Board of Directors and what do you hope to gain through your participation on the Board?

Participation on the Board of Directors is an incredible opportunity to be of service to the membership and community by supporting the VFC through its continued growth, stabilization, challenges and opportunities. I believe my experience in co-ops, natural/organic grocery and food service would provide useful and sound perspective to the Board of Directors. It would be an extreme honor and privilege to contribute to this mission-driven organization's ongoing success.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 2) Describe what skills and experience you have that will help you be an effective Director.

For nearly 25 years I've built a career in the natural and organic food industry. During that time, I owned and operated a local restaurant, managed a large bakery/bakehouse, oversaw a prepared foods department and lead a large customer service team. Recently I ended a 12-year career with the Viroqua Food Cooperative in April of 2021 serving as the Operations Manager for over three years. In this role I supported the Co-op through its recent expansion in 2018. I also managed staff, oversaw IT/ Point of Sale infrastructure, and brought support to the administration team. I leveraged my IT experience by building real time tools for data reporting to manage our store's key financial metrics. During the majority of that time I also supported the VFC Board of Directors in a multitude of ways and was immersed in the Seven International Co-op Principles, Policy Governance and Ends Reporting. Currently I work at Organic Valley Cooperative, another mission-driven organization and co-op.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 3) 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?

Co-ops have seen a dramatic increase in competition over the past 10 years as other multi-outlet national retailers have seized a large portion of the natural/organic market, putting many co-ops and natural food retailers at risk. Food co-ops throughout the country continue to struggle against these giants, but I believe what these multi-national corporations gain in volume, they lack in serving their community and supporting local economies. While the Viroqua Food Co+op is not immune to these threats, I believe it can overcome any challenge with strong financial oversight, effective Board leadership, continued owner support, and a great workforce. With my years of experience in this sector I believe I have the tools and understanding to work effectively with the Board and the General Manager to navigate these ever changing waters.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 4) Through the mission set out in our Ends Statement, what is your vision for the future of Viroqua Food Co+op?

My vision for the VFC is to continue building a stable, resilient business that can weather every storm while also focusing on continual improvement as an organization. I want the Co-op to keep providing excellent local organic food and with steady, sustainable growth, continue to positively impact the lives of our farmers/producers, our community, environment, owners and its employees. A thriving co-op has the ability make a profound contribution to all of these stakeholders.

[fa icon="plus-square"] 5) What is your favorite thing to buy at the VFC?

I am born and raised in Wisconsin so I feel it's only right to pay homage to our incredible Wisconsin cheeses. Currently my favorite cheese is the Carawaybou Colby from Deer Creek. Slap that on a sea salt cracker with some Driftless Provisions Saucisson Sec Salami or make the most delicious grilled cheese and I am in heaven. Close seconds and depending on the day, I love our VFC brats, and local organic coffee (all of it).