Board of Directors
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.
We’re excited to announce the new Board of Directors Video Series Project!
Want to know even more about your co-op community? Each week a La Montañita Board Member will be talking about articles within our monthly Co-op Connection newsletter! Meet your Board members and hear the inside scoop on what’s happening. Click here to see the first video of the series, with Board member Gina Dennis explaining our Donate-a-Dime donation program.
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.
Notice – Interim Board Appointees: At the May 17th meeting, the Board of Directors approved two interim Board appointees during Executive Session to fill two vacant Board seats until the upcoming elections are concluded. Gina Dennis and Julie Anderson joined the board as Interim Board Members to complete the full 9 seats of the Board of Directors. This selection will provide continuity of Board work with a full board of 9 members and continue Board perpetuation through recruitment and education of skilled and committed member/owners.
As written in the Board Bylaws Section 2.5: “If membership on the Board should fall below nine (9) members for any reason (e.g., resignation or disability of a Director), the Board may select as many members as may be required to have nine (9) Board members. Board members selected in this manner shall serve only until the next member meeting or election, at which time the membership shall elect Board members to fill the unexpired terms of any board positions filled by the Board. Candidates considered for this selection shall meet the same requirements as candidates during regular elections.”
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.
Tracy Sprouls – Vice President
I was born and raised in Clovis, and went to undergrad and law school at UNM. I’ve practiced law in Roswell, Amarillo, Artesia and, since 2000, Albuquerque. I help people set up small businesses and charities, and advise them on how to comply with state and federal tax laws. I’m interested in the wide variety of ways, including cooperatives, that people can organize to accomplish their goals. Term ends December 2017.
Lisa Banwarth-Kuhn – Secretary
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.
For 35 years I have been involved in the retail grocery business. I started at store level in Chicago, my home town, and ended as a director for a major chain here in Albuquerque, NM. My career today has taken a different direction. I have gone from selling food, to giving food to less fortunate people. I now work at Roadrunner Food Bank as the Food Rescue Manager. My duties are to develop relationships with food companies in New Mexico. This position has helped me to understand the importance of the food chain, and have a working knowledge of the state’s food systems. Term ends December 2016.
I live in Albuquerque. About 12 years ago I became an Environmental Lawyer in Washington, DC and Maryland. I am also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional- a green building specialist. In 2009, I established Relerience, a sustainability strategy consulting company that focuses on green buildings and environmental protection, which I brought with me to New Mexico when I moved here in 2015. I am a member of the Joint Task Force Committee for the Victory Hills and Clayton Heights Neighborhood Associations in Albuquerque. I also serve as the Coalition Secretary of District 6 Coalition of Neighborhood Associations. I also serve on the Governing Board of The International School at Mesa Del Sol, a charter school in Albuquerque. I also volunteer for the Sustainable Environment Committee and the Homelessness Committee of the St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church in Albuquerque. Term ends December 2016.
As a child I would join my grandfather for long walks along the Harwood irrigation acequia from Los Griegos to Matthew Meadows. In 1999 La Montañita opened our Valley store in the same neighborhood my grandfather and I would take long walks along on hot summer days. We would admire the green pasture fields and the beautiful horses along the irrigation ditches on the way home. In the spring of 2004 I became a member and employee with La Montañita at the Valley store and am currently the Nob Hill Grocery Bulk manager. I am a year round bike commuter, urban homesteader, husband, father to two beautiful children, coffee lover and backcountry enthusiast. I value sustainable practices as well as ethically grown and produced food. My goal is to extend the availability and education of these elements to our minority communities. Term ends December 2018.
For the past 15 years, I’ve been studying the relationship between social behavior and food. As a substance abuse counselor, I advise my clients on the dangers of sugar and salt. Food is at the core of the human experience, so it’s endlessly fascinating. I’m distressed at the low quality of the average American diet, pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, GMOs and industrial meat. Improving people’s diets with locally grown and produced organic food would increase community joy. I’m an advocate of community joy via food sharing. I also play in a band with my son, tentatively called the Provocateurs.. Term ends December 2017.
I’ve lived all over the country, but was raised in San Diego, mostly. I currently live and work as the tribal Environmental Director in Zuni. I like to garden, hike and cook and I’m a big Star Wars geek. My graduate studies were focused on climate change and food system resilience and it was through that work that I fell in love with co-ops. I served a term on the Board of the Moscow, Idaho Food Co-op and I’m delighted to have the chance to now serve on the La Montañita Board, which other co-ops study as a model of how to do it right. I hope you’ll share your ideas with me and together we can all make our co-op, and our local food system, stronger, and more resilient. Term ends December 2018.
I am a former archaeologist and Sierra Club activist. In 1997, I co-founded the Quivira Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to building bridges between ranchers, conservationists and others around practices that improve economic and ecological resilience in western working landscapes. I am the author of Revolution on the Range (Island Press), Grass, Soil, Hope (Chelsea Green), The Age of Consequences (Counterpoint Press) and 2% Solutions for the Planet (Chelsea Green). I live in Santa Fe with my family, two dogs, and four chickens. Term ends December 2016.
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: http://www.carvergovernance.com/model.htm
- 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.
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Member economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, training, and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for the community
- 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.
Attend Board Meetings
Regular Board meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 PM, and member-owners are welcome to attend. We are in the process of moving to a new location (tbd). If you would like to attend and are unsure where we will be meeting, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The first hour (5:30-6:30 pm) is a Community Education Session, during which co-op Board, staff, and member-owners explore a topic that relates to our role in the community. Agendas are posted on the bulletin boards in the stores three days before the meetings, and on our website here.
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.