The Moscow Food Co-op Recorded Record Numbers in Voter Turnout with 1,061 Owners Voting in This Year’s Election — 125 More than the Previous Record Number of Voters
MOSCOW (April 2019) – The Moscow Food Co-op (121 East 5th St.) is pleased to introduce its three new Board members: Alice Ma, Ken Hart, and Mark Thorne. The new Board members were announced by the Moscow Food Co-op’s voting system on Monday, April 1, after a two-week voting period.
A total of 1,061 Co-op owners voted in this election, which is 13.7% of the total Co-op ownership. A record number of voters turned out for this election, and the previous record — 936 voters — was broken for the second year in a row.
The voting results were as follows:
• Alice Ma (761 votes)
• Ken Hart (584 votes)
• Mark Thorne (453 votes)
The new Board members will be officially seated at the Board meeting on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 6 p.m. The Board meeting will take place in the Fiske Room of the 1912 Center in Moscow and is only open to Co-op owners. The new Board members will also attend an orientation on Tuesday, April 2 and a spring retreat with the full Board of Directors on Saturday, April 6.
The Moscow Food Co-op is a democratic organization controlled directly by its owners. Elected member representatives on the Board are accountable to the Co-op’s 7,700+ owners as they guide the Co-op through governance policies and supervision of the General Manager. The Co-op’s nine-member Board of Directors plays a vital role in the well-being of the Moscow Food Co-op, and Board members provide direction and oversight regarding the Co-op’s financial well-being and long-term goals.
The Moscow Food Co-op
The Moscow Food Co-op was established in 1973, and for 45 years we have promoted our cooperative identity by providing healthy food and creating a more sustainable planet and a stronger, healthier community. We are guided by more than 7,700 owners, and welcome anyone to shop in our store. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members “believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others," and aim to be good stewards of the earth and each other. The Moscow Food Co-op is located at 121 East 5th St. in Moscow, Idaho, and is open every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. We also have a satellite location on the University of Idaho campus in Moscow at 822 Elm Street. We are governed by a democratically elected nine-member Board. Both the Moscow Food Co-op’s past and future are rooted in cooperative values and principles as expressed through the International Cooperative Alliance.
I have a Master of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Utah, where I focused heavily on extracurricular activities related to food insecurity, sustainability, and nutrition education. Prior to moving to Moscow three years ago, I served a term as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Ellensburg, Washington, where I coordinated operations at the local food pantry and facilitated various nutrition and cooking education events. I am currently a part of the Washington State University Dining Services team as their Registered Dietitian. I am very proud to have played a pivotal role in launching a successful food recovery program on campus in 2017, and continue to assist with initiatives to source local ingredients, reduce food insecurity, minimize waste, and incorporate options to suit all dietary needs.
For almost as long as I have lived here, I have been a board member for Backyard Harvest, and have assisted with planning events, recruiting volunteers, and staffing our booth at Farmers Markets. I also spend a fair amount of time as a participating owner of the Co-op, most notably as the facilitator of its longest running class, the Healthy Eating on a Budget series. It has been an absolute joy seeing this class grow since its inception three years ago, and I enjoy teaching it every time. I contribute recipes for the Co-op’s FED demos and finally, I will be teaching the Zero-Waste Cooking class for the second time in April.
While I have a formal education in nutrition, the Co-op was the place where I learned about food systems, agriculture, and the importance of supporting local and fair-trade. My purpose in my profession has always been to help others eat more healthfully. However, ever since learning about the Co-op and becoming involved, my purpose has expanded to include encouraging others to think about where their food comes from and what they are supporting with their purchases. My favorite part of the classes I teach with the Co-op is hearing how excited participants are to shop more at the Co-op after learning how affordable it can be. While making the Co-op more accessible to the community is a primary motivation for serving on the Board of Directors, I also hope to encourage those who can access the Co-op to support and make their purchases at the Co-op more often.
I moved to north central Idaho with my spouse (Gail) and young daughter in1979 to begin a career in agriculture. Now, 40 years later, my life revolves mostly around agriculture and food systems. We own and operate Lolo Breaks Farm near Weippe. Our primary residence is in Nezperce, very near the Lewis County Extension Office where I have been an Extension Educator with University of Idaho Extension for 25 years. Our location may make my candidacy a bit of a “long-shot,” but we have been owners of the Moscow Food Co-op since 2000. I believe wholeheartedly in the Co-op’s principles. I have reviewed the board responsibilities and values and am able to fulfill and uphold them. I have extensive experience on boards. I have been a Trustee on the Nezperce Joint School District since 1996 and served as Board Chair since 2003. I have held leadership positions in several agricultural and professional organizations. I have been a member of cooperatives dating back to 1979. I have specialized training and experience with cooperatives. I worked as an agribusiness volunteer in Moldova in 2012, focusing on the structural problems experienced by many of their cooperatives. I was granted a six-month sabbatical in 2016 to study cooperatives and local food systems. I completed an internship with the NW Cooperative Development Center in Olympia, WA, and another assignment working with farming cooperatives in Angola as part of my sabbatical work. I followed this up with a volunteer assignment in Malawi working with two cooperatives whose members were subsistence farmers. These experiences taught me many lessons about cooperatives. I learned that the cooperative principles and effective member participation, education and governance are critical to the success and mission of cooperatives. I would like to serve on the Moscow Food Co-op Board of Directors because I believe in the principles of the Moscow Food Co-op. The success of the Co-op benefits the community of Moscow and surrounding areas very directly, but it also supports the development and success of other food system co-ops around the region and encourages small acreage farmers producing local food. In this way the Moscow Food Co-op acts like a hub for information on cooperatives and an example of cooperative success. I want to be a part of that ongoing effort and believe that I can contribute positively to the future success of the Moscow Food Co-op and its owners.
I believe my connection to agriculture is a key asset to serving on the Board of Directors. I have been on the production as well as academic research side of agriculture and have a strong awareness of the need for conservation, diversity, and productivity. My experience as a farmer will help me communicate with growers that supply food products to the Co-op, and will help me understand issues they are facing in their production practices. My experience in research has taught me the importance for objective critical thinking to make informed decisions. In all of my activities, I have worked with others in various ways. On the farm, I was a part of, and led crews to take care of livestock and farm production activities. As a researcher, I organized and oversaw field research work with cropping systems and weed management, and have pursued my own interests in disturbed land restoration. While living in Ohio, I volunteered with the Ohio Invasive Plants Council to help organize the 2007 Ohio Invasive Plant Research Conference. Through these experiences, I have seen differences of opinions and perspectives, but have also seen that consensus and listening are important attributes for attaining a greater good. Ever since I first frequented the Moscow Food Co-op, I knew it was a very special business. This was back in the early 90s when it was located on 3rd street. I very much appreciated the nice selection of bulk items and different coffees and teas. And, it was nice to experience a friendly, socially conscious environment. My spouse and I left the Palouse in 2001 for the eastern U.S., but returned in 2015 to find the Co-op in a great new location. I would very much like to serve on the Board to be a part of a great organization that is a unique and serves a very important need in the community. And, is a great gathering place for the community! It is my desire to see the Moscow Food Co-op continue as a source of good local food, healthy alternatives to commercialized products, and a place where people want to go for a welcoming friendly atmosphere.