Board of Directors Nominees

The Board’s work requires many skills though, spread across a variety of individuals with different strengths. In addition to policy governance, the Board also reviews “nitty gritty” documents like bylaws, articles of incorporation, and financial statements. It’s helpful to have Board members with an aptitude for understanding this type of reporting, but the Co-op strives to have a diversified Board and offers relevant trainings so candidates of all backgrounds are supported and encouraged to run.

The Board’s work can also be visionary—defining the Co-op’s mission through our Ends statement, and working on the long-term plan for the Co-op. Lastly, dedicated communication is necessary. Board members should be able to respond to emails and phone calls in a timely way, be present at Board meetings and other events, and contribute their share to the overall work load. Of course, passion for People’s (for this place, our products, our mission, and our community) is also vital! 

 
 
Jenna.JPG

Jenna Whitaker

1) Please describe your connection to People's, such as what draws you here, your involvement thus far?

I began visiting People’s in 2014 because supporting a community with values that line up with my own has always been important to me. I fell in love with the friendly staff, local produce, and the extensive bulk section. There are services and experiences provided at People’s that make it special like being able to chat with farmers at the Wednesday market, the inspiring kitchen ideas from Grassroots, and kaleidoscope yoga with friends. After spending time as a committed member-owner, I can see myself as a more involved asset to People’s.

2) What important experience, skills, and perspective would you bring to the board as a director?

During the day I serve as a teacher at a local preschool in SE Portland which has granted me the invaluable experience of working closely with a wide variety of people in the community. Working with children and their families has taught me a lot about patience, organization, and initiative, and I have learned a lot about myself as a leader in this role. After dedicating myself to early education for three years, I find myself interested in pursuing other avenues of community building. I began assisting Ashley as a farmers’ market HOO last autumn and it is something I look forward to every week. I get to meet with people from local and extended communities, provide information about the EBT match program, and ultimately strengthen the connection between people and their food. I am an ambitious person that can offer my passion, creativity, and strong community values to your board. I am eager to join a team of established directors that I can learn from and work alongside with to become a force for food justice in Portland.

3) How do you think Peoples can continue to be a force for positive change and food justice in Portland as we face a tough political and economic climate?  

As the political and economic climate grows hotter, it is important for People’s to remain set-apart by resisting the ever-growing “natural food” trend that can be spotted in most grocery stores today. People’s offers a community unlike any other. It is crucial now more than ever to strengthen and expand this by continuing to offer services such as food education classes, provocative articles in Grassroots, and the food-for-all program. I would love to see more programs that make our store more accessible to all people!

4) What does food justice mean to you?

At the heart of food justice is the interdependent relationship of sustainability and community. These values are both reflected at People’s through our ends statement and our actions and I have so many ideas on how we can continue to expand on them. I believe we can sharpen this reflection through educational workshops and expanding access to healthy, ethically sourced food. People like myself and other member- owners have the power to strengthen the community by coming together with open minds and open ears. As a director, I will listen carefully to all members of the community and encourage everyone to vocalize their needs and ideas so that People’s can continue to do what it does best serve the community.

 

Melissa Jaffe

1) Please describe your connection to People's, such as what draws you here, your involvement thus far etc.

People's has been an oasis for me.  I began shopping at People's over a decade ago, and quickly started as a Hand On Owner (HOO).  I enjoyed stocking produce, and making it pretty.  I felt like I was a part of the community and loved coming in early and staying late doing whatever I could to help out.  One day, I needed to change my schedule because I enrolled in a yoga teacher training.  I explained to Dusty that I was certified as a yoga teacher, but constantly looking to learn more.  He asked if I wanted to switch my HOO from produce to yoga teaching, and I was ecstatic -- I didn't realize that was an option for me.  I continued to teach Thursday evenings and other mornings as needed for several years.  When I moved to Los Angeles to have my child in 2013, I was heart-broken to leave People's. I looked hard to find another community that could fill that community connection for me in LA and I never was able.  That is when I realized how special People's is -- completely inclusive, health-minded, food and social justice focused.  When I returned to Portland, I continued to shop at People's, though I moved to North Portland.  I have a deep  love and respect for this community and I would love to be of service, if not as a HOO, then as a Board Member. 

2) What important experience, skills, and perspective would you bring to the board as a director? 

I am an attorney, licensed in OR, WA, and CA.  I focus on business transactions and intellectual property.  In the past, these credentials have been very helpful to Boards I've sat on.  Often times there is a legal or business analysis question that I will be quite comfortable answering or owning, when others are not.  I actually like challenges, and when I can narrow in on the best solution for a problem, especially when it serves the greater good, I am at my happiest.  Also, I am a mother, which gives me another view into opportunities to serve our community.  I've learned more in the process of being a mom about human descency, strong values, and compassion, all skills I believe will help in this position. 

3) How do you think People's can continue to be a force for positive change and food justice in Portland as we face a tough political and economic climate?

This is an incredible time we are living in. I personally believe its the most important time to get involved with community-led programs, particularly the Co-Op.  The times we live in remind me of why Co-Ops were developed to being with -- to ensure quality and affordable food was available, and to come together in groups to purchase and distribute that food.  Let's face it -- the quality of our Earth is simply not the same as it once was, and the availability to services (particularly health and education services) are dying on the vine.  I believe People's is perfectly positioned to continue its excellent services of providing locally sourced and affordable foods, and also expanding the community services it offers.  

4) What does food justice mean to you?

Food justice means that all have access to real foods.  This concept seems bizarre, but given the increase in GMO's, the depletion of our soil of minerals and the toxification of our land, access to real, affordable food is actually becoming a challenge.  I strongly advocate teaching others to grow food, and to share it with others.  As an attorney, I would like to research the companies currently providing their "organic" goods, and ensure there is labeling on GMO and non-organic goods.  The wording in our food vocabulary has become distorted, and I believe the People's community should rest assured that the quality they expect is provided, or at the very least clearly and carefully labeled.  Life is hard enough, when shopping at People's, everyone should feel confident they are receiving the quality food they expect.  

 
petersiracusa.jpg

Peter Siracusa

1) Please describe your connection to People's, such as what draws you here, your involvement thus far?

I have been in People's orbit for 30 years.  The store used to have a single line of shelves—hard to believe. People's is intimate, principled, compassionate, inclusive. I make friends here.  I work at the Wednesday farmer's market. People's is a place where anyone of us can make a difference. This matters to me.

2) What important experience, skills, and perspective would you bring to the board as a director? 

My activism has taught me humility. I have worked with Food not Bombs, adults with developmental disabilities, children of immigrants, Portland Central America Solidarity Committee. Making a difference that sustains, that is the question. 

Over fifty years ago I immigrated to this country. I speak another language. I have been homeless. I hope as a Board member my perspective will diversify the contributions of the other members. I was a member of the Alberta Co-op during a time of collective struggle; I took part in, at times, rancorous meetings that eventually lead to a vote for collective management. I am a skeptical inquirer. I want to know what you believe but also why. I want to know what you care about the most, where you really stand.  

3) How do you think Peoples can continue to be a force for positive change and food justice in Portland as we face a tough political and economic climate?  

To make a difference, social/eco-justice has to be the work of a committed group. I would like to see a food justice organization that reaches out across co-ops. Collective power is how we build bargaining clout with suppliers. Many co-ops speaking with a unified voice could accomplish wonders.

4) What does food justice mean to you?

In food justice, all the stakeholders, the land, water, air, seeds, the planters, harvesters, merchants, consumers take part in honest respectful exchange. To have transparency in a trans-national supply chain is extremely difficult. For example, Newman's O's sources its palm oil from lands in Colombia where communities of Afro-Colombians remain displaced by violence and intimidation. The labeling only tells us that the palm oil in the cookies is organic, a small part of the story. Without vigilance and organized collective response, food justice turns to dust.

 

Naoki Yoneyama

1) Please describe your connection to People's, such as what draws you here, your involvement thus far?

What I love above all is that we are not just a grocery store but a passionate community working together for food and social justice. From yoga classes—to be more connected with ourselves—to events to learn and enrich ourselves, and better understand our community, we’re so much more than a grocery store. Also, what draws me to People’s is the food we sell. The product guidelines are one of the highest standards in the Portland area, which means I can trust that what I buy at People’s is made in a sustainable and ethical way.  

2) What important experience, skills, and perspective would you bring to the board as a director?

I want to bring to the Board my passion for creating a fair and sustainable food system. Coming from a family of farmers, I'm well aware of the struggle that farmers face, but also the need to change the way we farm. Indeed, learning about the way we treat and use animals has influenced my decision to not consume animal products and to be a voice for the voiceless. 

Also, as an immigrant living in Portland, I want to bring a different perspective to our Co-op and our Board. Coming from France, a country where the public sector provides for basic needs such as healthcare, education, and training, I want to help our Co-op be a catalyst for positive change to create a more thriving community. 

3) How do you think Peoples can continue to be a force for positive change and food justice in Portland as we face a tough political and economic climate?  

People’s can be a force for positive change by being a voice on the issues our community faces, a voice for the underrepresented, for the voiceless, and against hatred and inequality. I see People’s continuing to write about these issues in Grassroots, put together and participate in events with our community to help spread the word. People’s can also be a force for positive change specifically in the area of food justice in Portland, by being a catalyst for food co-ops to organize and resist the wave of “natural” food in both big box retailers and for-profit natural food stores.

4) What does food justice mean to you?

To me, food justice means caring for people, animals and our environment all along the food chain. It means a wide array of initiatives—from ensuring fair wages for farm workers to holding to the highest animal welfare standards, from running a democratic workplace to offering to double food dollars for SNAP holders.

 

jenny Owen

1) Please describe your connection to People's, such as what draws you here, your involvement thus far?

I first learned of People's in 1998 when I was visiting a good friend who had recently moved to Portland.  When I moved here in late 1999 I quickly became a Member-Owner and Hands-on-Owner.  I became a substitute staff member around 2004 and have been working in this position ever since.  I feel both the length of my involvement with People's and my somewhat unique position as a substitute staff member gives me a deeper understanding of how People's has evolved and changed over the years and a really good perspective on what will help move the Co-op forward in our changing times.  

2) What important experience, skills, and perspective would you bring to the board as a director?

I've never been on a board before, but I believe my relationship with People's staff, Member-Owners and shoppers gives me a valuable and unique viewpoint on what the coop needs to consider as we evaluate our long term plan and move forward in a changing and dynamic Portland.   

3) How do you think Peoples can continue to be a force for positive change and food justice in Portland as we face a tough political and economic climate?  

I think the most important thing as People's continues to be a force for positive change in our current political climate are to stay true to our Ends.  Following these guiding principles is one of the things that truly set People's apart from other grocery stores.  

4) What does food justice mean to you?

Food justice itself is a fairly simple concept; it has a lovely definition that I completely agree with, if you Google search it.  However how it plays out on a day-to-day basis at the Co-op or in our daily lives is more complicated.  I believe our Ends addresses the concepts encompassed by the idea of food justice.  I believe as we grow as a community if we continually strive to make decisions based on our Ends we will continue to bring the core ideas of food justice into our store, onto our shelves and into our lives, strengthening local communities, supporting the people, animals and land that create the food that nourishes each of us.  

Ballots are due by 10pm on July 15th.

Cast your vote by mail or in the store!