Katie Michels - Incumbent

I have lived in Montpelier since the summer of 2017. I joined Hunger Mountain Co-op before I moved to Montpelier, because I was so impressed by the Co-op’s product sourcing and community commitments. Hunger Mountain Co-op makes it easy to keep our food dollars local and to support a food system that prioritizes people and sustainability.

I work for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board’s Farm and Forest Viability Program, a program which provides business planning and technical assistance to farm, food, and forest businesses in Vermont. I have also worked for a Vermont-based environmental foundation, two land trusts, and on farms. Through my work, I have learned about the challenges facing
Vermont’s local food system and working landscape, and can appreciate the tough choices necessary to keep a small business driven by a triple bottom line running.

I have served on the Hunger Mountain Co-op Council since December, 2018, and am also on the
Montpelier Conservation Commission.

I applied for a position on the council last winter because I wanted to better understand how the Co-op balances its community, environmental, and financial goals. My work is focused on supporting a resilient local food system and working landscape, and I appreciate how committed
Hunger Mountain Co-op is to these goals.

In the past year, I have learned about how Hunger Mountain Co-op works, the role of the
Council, and about the many issues and priorities that Hunger Mountain Co-op has to balance as it seeks to meet its ends. I have enjoyed learning about the role that cooperatives writ large can play in rebuilding a food system that prioritizes local production, fair wages, social equity, and democratic engagement. I would like to build upon the experience I’ve gained in the past year to ask questions and think creatively about how Hunger Mountain Co-op can continue to support local food system development as we consider what comes next for our co-op.
I bring to the council a passion for supporting small-scale producers in Vermont and beyond, but also a practical recognition that hard choices are necessary to put ideals into practice. I understand that the council’s role is to support staff by providing clear guidance and monitoring adherence to our established policies so that we can achieve our ends. I show up prepared for council meetings and am present and engaged. I am comfortable performing the governance duties expected of council members, such as reviewing financial statements and monitoring reports, and I am not afraid to ask questions.

I am scared by the ways in which our food system is shifting and shrinking. Fewer and larger companies control many links along the food system chain, and this carries consequences for the ability of small producers to access markets. Hunger Mountain Co-op presents a democratic alternative that is focused on keeping both dollars and control local. We prioritize products that are grown locally and sustainably, are healthy for people and planet, are produced fairly, and taste great. Maintaining this commitment to values-based purchases is critical for Hunger Mountain Co-op, and I hope it continues long into the future.

My biggest concern is that our sales growth is flat and our expenses are not. We need to figure out how to balance sales and expenses so we can remain a strong community institution.


Hunger Mountain Coop
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