La Montañita’s mission is to provide to our member/owners, at the lowest price possible, exemplary customer service, environmentally sound products, and the highest quality natural and organic food. We are committed to ethical business practices, participatory management, and cooperative principles. Our intention is to provide to the entire community, through practice and education, a working model for a healthy, sustainable, future. Global Ends Policy – A co-operative community built on beneficial relationships based in healthy food, sound environmental practices, and a strong local economy with results that justify the resources used.

The Policy Governance Model

La Montañita’s Board governs through a process called Policy Governance. The model emphasizes the board’s role in clearly stating what the organization is to accomplish (Ends Policies) while avoiding unacceptable actions (Executive Limitations Policies). The Board also writes policies about its own governing process as well as policies that describe its relationship to the General Manager. As you examine our policies, it’s important to understand that the Board’s job is to explain through its policies what it expects of the organization and then delegates all related issues beyond the written policies on Ends and Executive Limitations to our General Manager. So, as long as the General Manager accomplishes our Ends and avoids those situations described in Executive Limitations, the board is satisfied. We as a Board strive to do our job and allow our General Manager to do the work we delegate to her/him. The General Manager demonstrates accountability to the Board by producing regular reports explaining how he/she is complying with Board policies. For additional information about the model go to:

Our Ends

  • Increased access to, and purchase of healthy foods.
  • A growing regenerative agriculture sector that uses sound environmental practices.
  • A thriving and sustainable local economy that benefits members and community.
  • A strengthened co-operative community.

Cooperative Principles

  • Voluntary and open membership
  • Democratic member control
  • Member economic participation
  • Autonomy and independence
  • Education, training, and information
  • Cooperation among cooperatives
  • Concern for the community

The Board

Ariana Marchello – President

I work as a computer tech, but my favorite place to “geek out” is the kitchen. When I was little my electrician grandpa let me take apart old toasters and my grandma let me help her make the ravioli. My longtime interest in figuring out how it works or learning how it’s made has always inspired my love of cooking. The rest is gravy. Term ends December 2016

Martha Whitman – Vice President

My connection to La Montañita began in the 80’s, starting as the bookkeeper and ending as the co-manager of what was then our only store (at Girard & Central). I’m proud to have been part of the team that moved the store to Nob Hill. Soon after I left for California and worked in credit unions. I’m glad to have had that other cooperative experience but it didn’t hold a candle to working with good food. In 2004 I joined the board, and while it’s quite different from running the store, I find the governance role just as inspiring and rewarding. Term ends December 2015

Marshall Kovitz – Treasurer & Secretary

I have served on La Montañita’s Board of Directors for about 35 years, a period covering most of the Co-op’s existence. Helping to guide La Montañita’s growth has been a truly rewarding experience. During some of my working years I consulted with other co-op boards and though I am now mostly retired, I continue to help co-op and non-profit boards with governance issues. Currently, I also volunteer for the City, writing about bicycling in Albuquerque. Term ends December 2015


Jeff Ethan Au Green

**Photo and Bio Coming Soon ** Term ends December 2015

Lisa Banwarth-Kuhn

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, one of five children and a goofy little misfit who read a lot of books and found singing, acting and my cats to fill my soul. My neighbors owned the local businesses and cooperative markets blossomed during the heyday of 1960 political activism. During my college years in Albuquerque I discovered the fledgling La Montañita Coop. I felt at home with the members and the cooperative spirit. I am committed to the health of my family and community through education, healthy food and supporting local economy. Term ends December 2017

Leah Roco

My career in food began on an organic farm in New York where I came to understand stewardship and community. For the next two years I consulted for community organizations in Burma and Thailand, working to secure funding and develop sustainable agriculture in active conflict zones and refugee camps. As the Assistant Produce Manager at the Co-op’s Nob Hill store, I am privileged to work with the finest farmers in the state. I am also pursuing graduate studies in community planning at the University of New Mexico. I hope to contribute to the development of local economies and food systems. Term ends December 2016


Rosemary Romero

**Photo and Bio Coming Soon ** Term ends December 2017


Jessica Rowland

I am a lecturer in the University of New Mexico Sustainability Studies Program, where I facilitate the Lobo Growers’ Market and teach courses on sustainability, local food systems, and climate change. I collaborate with various campus and community partners to engage students in relevant educational and research opportunities. I am an avid backyard gardener, warm weather outdoor enthusiast, lover of all things food, and unabashed cat person. Term ends December 2016

Tracy Sprouls

**Bio Coming Soon** Term ends December 2017

How it Works...

  • La Montañita Co-op members elect other members to serve on the board. The nine board members spend many hours making sure the Co-op provides what you, the members, want. The Board of Directors also sets goals and provides the vision and guidance for the organization.
  • The Co-op board hires a General Manager to manage the business as a whole.
  • The General Manager hires and oversees the staff to take care of the co-op for other members.

Be Informed

Attend Board Meetings

Regular Board meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 PM at Immanuel Presbyterian Church across the street from the Nob Hill store; all members are welcome. Agendas are posted on the bulletin boards in the stores three days before the meetings.

Be Up-to-Date

Read summaries of approved board minutes.

Be in Touch

E-mail if you need more information or have any concerns.

How You Can Become a Board Member

As a member, you are eligible to run for the board. Every fall, members elect candidates to the Co-op’s nine-member Board of Directors. Contact us to become a candidate in the next Board of Directors election. Economic Democracy is the key in the cooperative philosophy, and it distinguishes cooperatives from the standard corporate structure.

Board Committees

Member engagement, Finance, Nominations and Elections, Bylaws, Board Development. For more information regarding the board’s committee work, please email the board at