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2013 Board Candidate Statements

Natural Times, October/November/December 2013

Dr. Jennifer Agabiti-Hall

I moved to Tallahassee from the Atlanta area almost 9 years for my husband, Brian, to take a teaching position at Florida A&M University. Not quite knowing what to expect, it was understandably tough to leave friends and family behind. I hesitantly took the plunge of becoming a member of a new community and finding out how I could make a difference in my new home.

As a fitness professional, I knew I needed to find a place that could provide my family with healthy local food. New Leaf Market was just the place. Not only did it provide the nourishment for my family, New Leaf Market made me feel “at home” almost immediately with an amazing sense of community and camaraderie. I knew then that I wanted to become more involved and give back to the co-op.

Having served on the board of directors for almost 7 years now, I feel that I am now able to see the true mission of the board and understand how policy and community intersect. I finally understand the idea of institutional memory and it’s positive implications. I’ve been able to be a part of steering New Leaf Market through it’s growing pains to our current place of prominence in our community.  I have absolutely enjoyed every minute of my time on the board of directors, and would love to continue to give back to the community that has given so much to my family and me.

Brian Baisch

My name is Brian Baisch and I am running for the New Leaf Market Board of Directors. Our Coop represents opportunity. It represents an opportunity for local farmers to support their community and be supported by their community. It represents an opportunity for people to be a part of where they shop rather than be just a place that they shop. The Coop represents an opportunity to show case an alternative business model to a growing chain-store market place that values continued profit growth over continued community growth.  Being on the Board of Directors provides me an opportunity to have some influence with in this important entity to assure that we remain strong in the face of growing challenges. I came to New Leaf Market in the midst of the last expansion some 5 years ago. I took over the deli when it was but fifteen employees and a small entity in the back corner of the store; many of you reading this I am sure remember that growth.  I was with the Coop when Earth Fare joined our community and was a part of the planning and transition to accommodate this new competition. New Leaf Market and I have grown together.  I would appreciate your vote and confidence in my bid to join our Board of Directors.  The people who work for and shop at New Leaf are a part of my extended family and I want to represent their ideas in mapping the future direction of the Coop.

Katie Bohnett

Did you know that State of Florida law currently limit co-operative incorporations to rental property units? Although New Leaf Market can incorporate under the cooperative laws of another state, this prevents New Leaf from having a Florida incorporation that would enable us to increase our credibility in the community as well as allow for greater access to loans, distributors and future members. New Leaf has an advantageous proximity to our state’s capitol, and our Board should continue to show our legislature how co-operatives benefit their membership and their communities-at-large.

My name is Katie Bohnett, and I have been a Tallahassee resident for nearly 11 years. I moved here from Colorado Springs, CO to attend Florida State University, and I have been shopping at the New Leaf Market since my arrival. I have a professional background in state government and political campaigns that uniquely qualifies me to assist the co-operative in its goals to facilitate legislative change that benefit the co-op and its owners. I encourage you to visit my Linkedin page for more details on my professional experience at: www.linkedin.com/in/katiejbohnett.

I am running for the Board of Directors because I believe health and wellness are key components to a prosperous community. I believe that New Leaf Market has truly flourished each year with each additional owner, and I want to able to assist with additional growth and to share that with others.  I humbly ask for your vote on November 2- November 17, 2013 for this year’s Board of Directors election.

Jodi Elizabeth Perez

In the 1970’s I learned a thing or two about life at the old Gaines Street location. It was an amazing place to explore as a child.  The exotic food, international candies & aromas I experienced there have remained an influence on my palate to this day. 

Upon returning fulltime to Tallahassee, I was very happy to find my way back to a new place that still felt like home. It’s as if we grew up together, moved around a bit and became a little more sophisticated. But underneath it’s still the same heart and soul that has made New Leaf such an asset to Tallahassee.

Earlier this year I joined the team at Wakulla Springs Restaurant & Lodge as Food & Beverage Director.  I am also the founder and Executive Chef of Provisions, a long established restaurant in Port St Joe.  Under my leadership, both locations specialize in catering, event management and casually elegant dining.

With fairly extensive culinary knowledge, 20 years of event management, fund raising, community project development and collaborative committee work, I feel I have much to contribute towards the stewardship of New Leaf.

In an expanding local market, New Leaf stands out as a progressive business model and valuable cornerstone of this community.  While there may be new stores arriving, there is no competition when it comes to the genuine care and concern for community that has been demonstrated over the years. Paying that forward will separate us from the pack.  

Kyle Schaller - withdrawn from the race 10/29/13

Norma Skaggs

I moved to Tallahassee from Venice, Florida in 1974 to attend Florida State and like a lot of us that settled here, I fell in love with our small town city and it’s natural beauty. I then went through the Lively Vo Tech Horticultural Program and have been working at Native Nurseries on Centerville Road since 1990. I have 2 children, both adults now. Jessie and Casey King are both graduates of FSU. Casey is also a graduate of FIU law school in Miami.

I started shopping with the Leon County Food Coop from the back of someone’s pick up truck (who’s truck was that?) at the Alumni Village. What a great way to meet people and feel connected! I really believe in the community that NLM is an important part of, in what NLM promotes and I have been a loyal supporter since those pickup truck days. I am a strong advocate for organic gardening, local foods, clean water and the preservation of the stunning ecosystems in our area. I believe in living simply and close to nature, and strongly support land conservation and intelligent, conscientious use of natural resources.

Thank you for your consideration.  I appreciate and love NLM!

June Wiaz

As a board member at New Leaf for nearly six years, I have learned much from training sessions in other parts of the country as well as through board experience.  Many factors set apart the co-operative movement – and New Leaf in particular – from conventional stores.  I love that our reasons for being go far beyond profitability.

Our mission at New Leaf so perfectly dovetails with my professional background. For years I worked in the environmental field first in Washington, D.C. (and a couple of years in the Peace Corps in Guatemala); then as a freelance environmental writer in Tallahassee while raising our two girls when we moved here in 1996. The solitary writer’s life wasn’t a perfect fit for me as I really enjoy being around people, so I re-invented myself by getting a second M.S.; this one in clinical nutrition.

I’ve greatly appreciated the privilege of serving on your board these two terms with our other directors who I hold in high esteem. I’m hoping for a third and final stint to continue some of the things we’ve started, especially outreach to our local community and its political representatives as we explore possibilities for future collaboration.

2014 Business of the Year2014 Locally Owned Business of the Year