2021 Board Elections

Meet the four candidates running for three openings on the St. Peter Food Co-op’s Board of Directors. Each of their numbered answers corresponds to the numbered questions below.

  1. Why would you like to serve on the St. Peter Food Co-op Board of Directors?
  2. What skills, experiences, or expertise would you bring to the Board that would directly contribute to the fulfillment of Board responsibilities and expectations? Include any involvement with the Saint Peter Food Co-op, other cooperative enterprises, other boards, or non-profit organizations.
  3. Please review the cooperative principles, discuss which one is most meaningful to you and why.
  4. What opportunities and challenges do you envision for the future of the St. Peter Food Co-op?
  5. Why do you believe Owners should choose you to represent them?

The Co-operative Principles

  1. Voluntary & Open Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Members Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy & Independence
  5. Education, Training & Information
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
  7. Concern for Community

Jennifer M Andrashko (Incumbent)A photo of Jennifer M Andrashko

Assistant Professor of Social Work
Master of Social Work (MSW), University of MN  

  1. As a current director nearing the completion of my first term, I have grown my understanding of what the St. Peter Food Coop means to its membership and to the greater community. It would be an honor to continue to serve in this capacity as an experienced director with greater knowledge of both the food cooperative industry and of the role of the board of directors.
  2. As a longtime member of the Saint Peter Food Coop, I care deeply about the health and sustenance of this important organization. I have experience as a current director on the Saint Peter Food Coop Board of Directors. I have also served on local and national boards for various advocacy and non-profit organizations focused on improving equity and access to quality health and behavioral health care.
  3. Principle 7 – Concern for Community is most meaningful for me. The food coop’s dedication to the sustainable development of its community is aligned with my own personal values and with my values as a professional social worker. Social Connectedness and environmental health are critical to the health and wellness of each one of us. The Saint Peter Food Coop is a place where these two things are nurtured and grown.
  4. The food coop weathered great challenges in the grocery industry during the global pandemic and demonstrated its capacity for adapting and growing to meet the needs of its membership and of the community. While the shifts and changes this industry requires are challenging, the Saint Peter Food Coop has shown it is equipped to navigate even the most difficult uncharted waters.
  5. I believe member owners will find that I am qualified to serve as a director and that I care deeply about the mission, work, and sustainability of the Saint Peter Food Coop.

Emily StarkA photo of Emily Stark

Professor, Minnesota State University, Mankato
PhD in Social Psychology

  1. As a lifetime resident of St. Peter, I appreciate the role of the Food Co-op in serving as a community hub. I’m interested in learning more about the Food Co-op through board service, and working to support this organization that does so much for my hometown.
  2. I have previously served on the board of the Arts Center of St. Peter, with 2 years as board president. I have also been a member of and regular shopper at the Food Co-op for years. I have a lot of experience with data collection and analysis and would be particularly interested in helping with any customer/member surveys or other approaches to understanding the needs of the different communities connected to the Co-op.
  3. Concern For Community–particularly in a small town like St. Peter, I think it’s very important for local businesses and non-profits to see themselves as community members. The Food Co-op makes St. Peter a better place to live, not just through providing an additional grocery store, but through all their levels of involvement in the community. This inspires me to support the businesses that support this town and the people in it.
  4. We’ve seen how difficult it is to make any type of meaningful future plans, and who knows what ‘normal’ will ever look like again? How can the Co-op sustain their presence in the community and meet the needs of a growing and diversifying town? I particularly have seen how the impacts of the pandemic have led to a growing reliance on technology to both connect as well as to manage our daily tasks, and leveraging technology effectively to serve customers will be both an opportunity and challenge now and in the future.
  5. I’m committed to supporting the work of the Co-op and would be honored to have an opportunity to get more deeply involved here.

Kristin ThomasA photo of Kristin Thomas

Secretary & Health Coach
Institute of Integrative Nutrition

  1. I am passionate about wellness and believe we are lucky to have a local Co-op at our disposal.
  2. I am an advocate for wellness and all things organic and sustainable.  As a Health Coach I educate individuals on sustainable living, proper nutrition and how the co-op has the ingredients for success.
  3. Open and voluntary membership.  Anyone can join and reap the benefits of being a member!
  4. Economic viability.  I am hoping there is a large movement of people understanding the importance of investing in a business that supports total wellness and sustainability.
  5. I am an advocate for the Co-op.  I am constantly education individuals on why they should support the co-op.  I would love the opportunity to learn how I can help impact our community in a positive way.

Jenny KapernickA photo of Jenny Kapernick

BA from St. Olaf College, Masters in Education from Long Island University, Additional Masters Level Licensure Credits in teaching MNSU-Mankato

  1. The St. Peter Food Coop plays a significant role in my quality of life, and the quality of life of my family and community.  I know I can shop at the Coop and trust that caring and informed people have made decisions regarding the food and products that exist there.  I rest easier knowing this.  As the world becomes more uncertain as the climate changes, I find it more and more important to eat organically, and also choose items grown locally.  I am passionate about food, local economy and farming and I would be honored to represent the values and mission of the coop and it’s members.
  2. Although I am currently a full time farmer, my background is in teaching.  Most recently I worked at a teacher powered school with a collaborative model and school staff made all administrative decisions. I served on the Nutrition and Compost committee as well as other administrative committees.  I am a detail oriented, organized person, with an ability to prioritize tasks.
  3. The cooperative principle most meaningful to me is number 7, concern for community.  I am a very community minded person and feel committed to the St. Peter community.  I find it important that part of the cooperative’s mission is to work toward the sustainable development of the community.  The word sustainability is overused but, at its core, it means to maintain something and give it lasting support.  It is obvious to me that the Coop has been supporting and bringing health and wellbeing to the community of St. Peter for over 40 years.
  4. I think the Coop has a major opportunity to be a place that continues to nourish people and the planet while there are a lot of challenges facing both people and the planet.  The global pandemic in the midst of a climate emergency provides huge challenges and I believe the Coop has a unique opportunity to be a catalyst for change in our small community of St. Peter.  We have an opportunity to educate and promote healthy living and continue to be a leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship.
  5. Although I am not a St. Peter native, I am very committed to this community.  The Coop is my favorite place in town, and the only place I choose to purchase groceries.  I am passionate about the role of the St. Peter Coop in our town, and I care about the members and employees of the Coop. To me, the Coop is a huge part of what makes St. Peter special.  I would be honored to serve on the Board of Directors, and play a part in ensuring a positive, progressive future for the Coop and it’s members.

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