About the Board:
The Terre Foods Board of Directors has opted to pursue a model called "policy governance" for the purposes of leading the Terre Foods Cooperative Market. The hallmark of policy governance is to make a strong division between the domains of day-to-day operations, and the overall ends and goals of the cooperative. The domain of the Board is to determine the overall goals, to create policies that reflect these goals, and then to ensure that these goals are appropriate, and are being met. The domain of Operations is to implement the policies created by the Board, and then report on the success of these implementations. Operations will be headed by a General Manager, who will be in charge of all cooperative Staff.
The General Manager will report to the Board. Until a GM is hired, the Steering Committee takes the role of Operations. Upon hiring a GM, the Steering Committee will take on a subsidiary role to the GM and will, eventually, become defunct as staffing is hired to fill the role.
Most of the members of the Board are also on the Steering Committee although the roles are distinct, and there are several people on the Steering Committee who are not on the Board. In addition to our Board and Steering Committee, TFCM has several area committees:
- Membership: recruiting and maintenance of TFCM Membership lists;
- Community Outreach: organizing and developing events for TFCM members and Terre Haute Community;
- Communication: publicizing events and keeping community awareness of TFCM.
Our Board, 2015
Jennifer Hale (2014), Treasurer
As a native of northern Vigo County, I have spent equal time in the family fields as I have living an urban lifestyle.
While obtaining my master’s of urban planning and policy in downtown Chicago, I was able to see the importance of fresh food. Churning out papers on mediocre fare was not fun, but for a girl on a budget, those fresh items were just too expensive because they were not local.
My biggest ‘light bulb’ moment was when I served one of my family-grown tomatoes to my significant other (who had always lived in urban areas). When he declared that he would never eat a store-bought tomato again, my gears started turning. I realized that I actually have a lot of knowledge when it comes to growing fresh foods (compared to someone who may not even think twice about where that frozen bag of veggies comes from).
As a part of Terre Foods Co-Op, I want to educate people about the benefits of eating fresh food; I want to connect the growers to those wanting to learn about planting; I want to see downtown Terre Haute thrive because its residents and workers will have access to fresh food; most of all, I want to help create a sustainable place to raise my family.
Lorrie Heber (2014)
Okay, I'll admit it...I'm a foodie. Love to grow it, love to make it, love to eat it, and I love to share it. It's a love built from my mom who gardened and preserved food with abandon. I can still taste her pickled green beans! Leaving the farm for the city, I just assumed mom had some special power to make food taste better than I was able to buy in the grocery store.
My eyes were opened to the superiority of local foods while traveling in Italy. People marvel at how good the food tastes there and wonder the secret. I discovered the secret while flying in to Naples where I saw dozens and dozens of small greenhouses in backyards and any open space everywhere! People, the food tastes good in Italy because it's grown right where the people live! It's not genetically engineered for shipping and then shipped thousands of miles to a grocery store. Their restaurants have menus, but the best they have to offer is the nightly special...a dish prepared from food harvested or caught that day. Fresh food! Who knew?
Over the years, my interest in local foods has become about much more than taste. It's about economic development in our area's struggling rural communities. It's about teaching people with limited means to cook nutritious foods. It's about battling obesity and unhealthy lifestyles. It's about breaking the destructive effects of monoculture farming. It's about treating animals more humanely. And, yeah, it's about taste!
Aaron Warner (2014), Secretary
I am a lifelong resident of Terre Haute and have taught courses in biology and chemistry (including the chemistry of food) at the high school level for the past 17 years. I also completed the Master Gardener Program through the Purdue Extension Office.
Outside of school I am also a beekeeper, hiker, do-it-yourselfer, fisherman and hunter. I grew up living in town, but was always a country boy at heart. My wife and I purchased land, built our home ourselves in large part for our two sons on 23 acres in southern Vigo County. I have always gardened organically and have chosen to focus my gardening energies on blueberries.
I have been a vendor at the Downtown Farmers Market since its first season where I sold, and still sell, my berries, berry plants, honey, and other produce. I have also sold blueberry plants at the last two Blueberry Festivals. I have tried to farm as sustainably as possible while teaching those techniques in my classroom, Master Gardener classes, Osher Institutes, and to anyone else willing to listen.
When visiting Bloomington and Indianapolis, my family has made it a priority to visit their natural foods stores. I believe the time is right, and the clientele exists, for Terre Haute to have its own natural foods store. I believe my experiences from my former tree service, the Downtown Farmer’s Market, produce growing, and knowledge in the sciences complement the talents of the existing Board of Directors.
Chris Weber (2014), President
My journey to supporting a community co-op actually begins with a pear. I wasn't too concerned with where my food or products came from, just that they were available and that pear felt and appeared perfect -- just a little give, nice aroma, pretty color. However, when I actually went to eat that pear, I found that just beneath the surface was a hard, unripe center with nothing of the promise I had seen in the grocery store. Next came a nectarine with the same story, cheese that was more rubber than milk, bread that was bland and papery, etc. The more I looked the worse the problem became. Furthermore, when I tried to find better alternatives, there were no solutions to actually improve that situation.
Fast forward a number of years, and a number of communities, and I have a very different perspective on where and how I want to purchase the products I use and consume. Bloomington, Illinois; Burlington, Vermont; Topeka and Lawrence, Kansas -- all have very strong and long running co-ops and community markets. Living in those environments, the experience of that pear was easy to forget. Coming to Terre Haute, the void left by not having access to similar stores was evident. I drove to Bloomington and Champaign-Urbana, made sure to stock up before heading back from Kansas on the weekends, and generally lamented the ease with which I could shop the way I chose to before moving here.
My career led me here, and running Rex Roasting Co. puts me in constant contact with all facets of the local community. My position allows me to support many community endeavors both as a sponsor and participant. As the only local coffee roaster, I provide a unique product that I believe helps elevate our community with connections to over 150 years of local history. I also know that I am accountable for the quality of that product to my friends and neighbors.
I am a firm believer that the best way to offer a community what it needs is to involve the community itself in decision making. That is the promise of Terre Foods -- community empowered purchasing. Not every thing available will be local. Not all of the products will be supported by all of the members. It will not be perfect. But, at least when you get a bad pear, someone will listen.
Rob Bunch (2015)
I have been a member of Terre Foods Cooperative since October 2008 and am seeking election to my second full term as a board member. I have served two roles on the board to date. Initially, I developed and wrote the initial policies for board governance. More recently, I have been heavily involved in coordinating the development of financial proformas with our coop consultants related to several potential store sites. We hear a lot about the need for economic development in our community but don’t know what we can do to assist in this development. My service on our board has convinced me that a cooperative market in Terre Haute is a key step in enhancing economic activity throughout the region.
My wife Anne and I have participated in community supported agriculture programs for over ten years and as soon as we heard about the group starting Terre Foods we were eager to join. We believe that buying locally grown food is one small step that we can take to help the community and the environment. The people of Terre Haute need Terre Foods Cooperative Market and I want to help make this member-owned store a reality.
I teach at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology where I am a Professor of Physics and Optical Engineering. I also serve as an Innovation Fellow at Rose-Hulman Ventures.
TJ Hellmann (2015)
I am a graphic designer, web developer, activist, and father of two young kids. My wife is originally from Terre Haute and we moved our family here in the summer of 2013. I am passionate about environmental justice and food justice. Prior to moving to Terre Haute, I lived in Boston where I worked as a community organizer for 5 years for a local environmental nonprofit as well as served as the community garden coordinator for our neighborhood’s urban garden. I also was a board member for ACE (Alternatives for Community and Environment) - an environmental justice organization with a youth-led food justice program. I currently am a member-owner of a design cooperative that works with environmental organizations to build and design communication tools.
I am very excited by the energy and vision behind Terre Foods and the huge impact I know it will have here on our community. I look forward to contributing however I can to continue involving more people in the process and working with everyone to make this collective vision a reality.
Kyle Volkers (2015)
I have been a lifelong resident of Terre Haute. My only time away was during my college years at Butler University, where I earned my degree in Finance in 1996. Since that time, I have been in the field of financial consulting and wealth management. I love what I do, but I am always looking for ways to make Terre Haute a better place to live.
I am the father of four amazing children and I hope the work I do with THCM will accomplish two things: 1) Give our community a much desired food alternative that will help stimulate our local economy and 2) Show our next generation the importance of organic growing and a community-supported enterprise. Our kids are living in a world of GMO and fast food with some potentially devastating results that we may not fully realize for years to come. I am hopeful that my kids will have an affordable food alternative that will make a healthy lifestyle easier to achieve.