Board of Directors → 2018 Election

Candidate Statements

LAURIE MAY COYLE

I’m a believer in the fundamental rule that the energy you give out is what you get back, and part of the reason I live in Great Barrington is because of the Berkshire Co-op Market. I believe in the power of cooperative and community ventures, and I believe in the power of a group of dedicated people. I have benefited so much from being part of this community as an owner and customer and I look forward to becoming part of the board of directors.

About three years ago my family and I moved to Great Barrington from South Lee, just up the road, where we lived for about ten years. Making the change to come to this community and be part of this beautiful town has been such a blessing for us and our children. They still go to school “out of town” at the Montessori School of the Berkshires — which is also a place that we feel at home; it’s another version of a cooperative, built to strengthen the community which it serves and beyond.

It would be a great honor to be part of the Board of Directors here. It is such an amazing time to be part of it. I have used the resources of the co-op as a young adult and as a young mother and was so appreciative of finding natural solutions to health issues and finding people who were knowledgeable. The Co-op has supported me in many ways as I have learned about how to use food and plants and plant medicine, as well as solutions that are not necessarily mainstream in ways that could help support my family, and that I have passed on to other families. As my children grow–they are four and eight right now–I want to show them what it looks like to be part of a community and to build up and support the community that you’re part of and that you benefit from. I’m looking forward to being part of this board in a time of transition for the Co-op, when I see that there is so much exponential growth possible. As I see the plans being put into place for what our new store is going to look like, I want to be part of those decisions and choices and finding new ways that we can continually improve what we offer and how we show up as a resource in the community. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to be here and be part of this.


JENNIFER SALINETTI

My name is Jennifer Salinetti. Many of you may already know me as one of your community food producers and educators from Woven Roots Farm. Others may know me as a former employee of the Co-op. For the last 3 1/2 years , I have actively served on the Berkshire Co-op Market’s Board of Directors.

The Co-op was one of the first places that I sought out when I first moved to the Berkshires in my early twenties, I was young and eager to learn about my community. I was also interested in participating in something that had a purpose and had values that resonated with my own. The Co-op was a natural fit. It was within the walls of the Berkshire Co-op Market that many of my friendships began to take shape. The Co-op has created a space for me to regularly connect with people in engaging and thought-provoking ways. In many ways, it has taught me how to be a constructive, participating member in a community that I love so dearly.

For the last 15 years, I have also had the experience of working with the Co-op as a small business owner. When my husband and I decided it was time to start selling produce beyond our neighborhood farm stand, the Berkshire Co-op Market became a guiding force. Our relationship has helped me to recognize that connecting wholesome, locally sourced food in an environment that is an active part of social change is both an honor and a necessity.

Over the last few years, I have had the privilege of serving on the Co-op’s board. My experience thus far has been more fulfilling than I could have ever thought it would be. The team that I work with is made up of the most thoughtful, inquisitive and genuinely committed group of individuals I’ve ever worked with. We each come with our own prospective, but the foundations of these viewpoints are based on the desire to see the Berkshire Co-op Market be the best it can be, as a natural food store, a community gathering space, and an educational resource to our community.

Constructive and active participation on the board is essential to the well-being of our Co-op. We, as owners, have a voice and it is powerful to see that our voices can make a difference. This process humbles me and engages me in the Co-op in deeper, more meaningful ways. For almost twenty years, I have grown with the Co-op, as an owner, a mother, an employee, and a vegetable producer. This allows me to offer a fundamental prospective to the board. The Berkshire Co-op Market is a place where action is taken every day to enrich our community. With your vote, can continue my work with this fine organization and play an integral role in helping our Co-op flourish in new and invigorating ways.


ERICA SPIZZ

I’m grateful to live in a community with a co-op that is playing an essential role in maintaining the integrity of what we eat and the cultivation of a local food system. The democratic control of capital in our Co-op allows us to have a powerful effect on our community.

My professional background is in documentary film production, and my work on a video project about the Berkshire Co-op and its relationship with local farmers was what initially inspired me to run for the board. Currently I’m the video producer and editor at Iredale Mineral Cosmetics.

I have been a member of the Co-op board since 2004 and board president for the past year. I get great satisfaction from contributing my energy, experience, and skills to a thriving business that is values-driven, member-owned, keeps assets in the Berkshires, and is open to all.

It’s been rewarding to work collaboratively with a group of conscientious, engaged board members. I value our consensus-based decision-making process and I’m committed to being an inclusive, responsive leader of the board of directors.

This is a pivotal time for the Co-op when consistent leadership is vital to the success of our expansion project. I’d be honored to serve another term and continue as part of the team.

Round Up for Change Candidates

BERKSHIRE AGRICULTURAL VENTURES

Berkshire Agricultural Ventures provides nimble financing (through community matching grants and below market rate flexible term loans) and one-on-one technical assistance to food and farming entrepreneurs and local businesses to help them thrive in today’s challenging economic landscape. We invest in safeguarding working farms, help food makers who add value, and assist food entrepreneurs who are striving to create and expand into new and emerging markets. BAV is strategically supporting and investing in the full spectrum of farm to table infrastructure to provide a more robust and accessible local food economy and more locally produced food to our communities.

BERKSHIRE BABY BOX

We provide a safe sleeping space for newborns, essential items, and an educational component which connects ALL new Berkshire county parents to local resources and community support.

BERKSHIRE FERMENTS

The Annual Berkshire Fermentation Festival is a FREE day long celebration of the diversity of all things fermented and cultured. Each year there is an array of local cultured food vendors sampling and selling their products along with demos, educational lectures, science corner, book signings, live music, and more. Our priority is that the festival is accessible to everyone in the community and there are opportunities to learn something new and support a local business.

BERKSHIRE HILLS REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT PROJECT CONNECTION

In the last 10 years the percentage of low-income families at Muddy Brook Elementary has risen from 20% to 36%. Project Connection (PC) is a BHRSD program that provides academic, social/emotional and family supports for over 200 high needs students and their families each year. PC has run, with support from several community partners, a successful “Food Backpack” program for the last 5 summers, sending nutritious staples and fresh food items home to families weekly. This year PC will begin sending home food to help families get through school vacations as well. Please help us support our most vulnerable students!

BERKSHIRE PULSE

Berkshire Pulse is a dynamic nonprofit dance, world music and movement arts education center located in downtown Housatonic.Pulse’s year-round programming provides children, teens and adults with the opportunity to engage in the joy of movement and music while learning the rewards of commitment, community involvement, and the vast benefits of artistic expression.

CHARLEY’S FUND

We are a small but mighty non-profit whose mission is to support the development of treatments and a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the most common fatal genetic disease diagnosed in childhood. We identify and direct funding to the most compelling research and treatment programs related to DMD, and we amplify the impact of that funding with strategic problem-solving support to both awardees and the broader DMD research community. Charley’s Fund was founded by Alford parents Benjy and Tracy Seckler, whose son, Charley, was diagnosed in 2004. We have local roots but are working very hard to have a global impact in fighting this vicious disease.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF SOUTH BERKSHIRE

The Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire (CDCSB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating job opportunities, promoting economic development, and building low-moderate income housing in south Berkshire County. CDCSB makes it possible to live and work in the same community.

THE DENISE KALEY FUND FOR BERKSHIRE COUNTY WOMEN WITH CANCER

Founded in 2009, The Denise Kaley fund is the only fund in our region to provide support for the daily living expenses of women who are living both with a cancer diagnosis and in extreme financial need. We work with the Fund’s Community Referral Network at our two hospitals who refer patients to us. As an emergency fund, our Fund Advisory Committee usually votes on and The makes grants the day the applications are received. To date we have made 235 such grants. The need is enormous. Every year we spend what we raise to lend a supporting hand to our neighbors going through extraordinarily difficult times. We would be so honored to have this work spotlighted by the “Round Up for Change” program — both because of the support it could offer but also to familiarize the community with what we do and why we do it.

GOULD FARM

Last year, we offered $1.4 million in financial assistance, so that no one was turned away from admission because they couldn’t afford to pay. We rely on contributed income to cover the cost of psychiatric treatment at Gould Farm, and this program can help us meet this challenge in 2018.

MUSIC IN COMMON

Music In Common is a non-profit organization that empowers diverse cultures and faiths to discover common ground through collaborative songwriting, multimedia, and performance. Since 2005, Music In Common has directly served thousands of people in more than 250 communities in the Berkshires and across the globe, including Israelis and Palestinians, Christians, Jews and Muslims, as well as American-born, refugee, and immigrant youth. In any community, our programs transform apprehension into trust, fear into acceptance, powerlessness into action. Working together face to face, participants expand understanding, build confidence, strengthen community, wage peace, and – yes – change the world.

NONPROFIT CENTER OF THE BERKSHIRES

The Nonprofit Center helps nonprofits connect, learn & grow. We strive to make life easier for nonprofits by identifying gaps in services and creating affordable solutions. As a clearinghouse for information and resources, the NPC provides a one-stop solution, saving nonprofits time and money. Programs include educational workshops, coaching, referrals, the Giving Back guide, networking events, roundtables, a listserve, primary research and a nonprofit awards event. As a “connector organization,” the NPC coordinates volunteers, businesses and individuals to work together to support the sector. We rely on support from local businesses and foundations to keep services affordable for all.

RAILROAD STREET YOUTH PROJECT (RSYP)

At RSYP, youth explore their full potential and become equipped to meet the challenging transition to adulthood. RSYP’s professional adult staff matches youth-generated ideas with community resources, empowering young people to create and oversee a wide range of innovative, life-changing projects. Unmatched in mission and scope, RSYP excels in helping youth find their voice and realize the benefits of their commitment to themselves and their community.