Meet The Candidates

The Co-op Board of Directors is made up of 12 volunteer Co-op members, including up to two employees. This year we have four 3-year seats and one 1-year seat available. Four candidates* have declared their interest. The candidates with the most votes will receive the three-year terms

Learn more about the candidates below. Elections are held the entire month of April and a mailing with election information is sent to all members that have provided us with a mailing address. Voting takes place online and in-stores.

Jennifer Byrne

Jennifer Byrne

Lyme, N.H.—White River Natural Resources Conservation District Manager

Hello fellow Co-op members! I am thrilled to be considered for this seat on the Co-op Board of Directors. I live in Lyme, NH with my 9-year-old daughter and have been a Co-op member for three years. As a board member, I would bring a perspective that centers local food production, sustainability, and equity.

I bring my experience in community engagement, agriculture, and policy to this role, and will enthusiastically represent the values and vision of the members of our Co-op. In my career with the Natural Resources Conservation District, I advocate for policies that represent the will of farmers in our area. I have also spent several years working as a Fellow in the Environmental Justice Clinic at Vermont Law School, where I have developed skills in coalition building and equitable community engagement. Through serving in this position, I look forward to learning more about the distribution end of our local food system and deepening my connection to our community.


Conicia Jackson

Conicia Jackson

Bethel, Vt.—Rental Rehab Coordinator

Hello fellow members! My name is Conicia Jackson and I am a second-year law student at Vermont Law School. I am from a town called East St. Louis right outside of St. Louis. Today, however, I am proud to call Vermont my home. Many people from both Vermont and New Hampshire have made my daughter and I feel welcomed, which is why I am eager to give back and serve others. I am enthused about declaring my candidacy for the Co-op Board of Directors.

The co-op markets hold a special place in my heart. When I arrived in Vermont, the co-op was one of the first places that I visited. After a long trip from St. Louis to Vermont, traveled by car, I did what most would do when trying to get settled, headed to the market to stock up on food for our new home. I took time to explore my new neighborhood and stumbled across one of the local co-ops. I knew the place was special when I walked in because I felt a sense of warmth and community. I could tell that the members and people who worked there took pride in the market and that every detail was carefully planned. After the initial visit, I wanted to learn more and began visiting other coops in the region.

Every time I visited a co-op, I felt like a kid, exploring every aisle in awe and wanting to try many of the fascinating items that lined the colorful shelves. Eventually, I knew that I had to be a part of the co-op world. I became a member and was excited when I gave the cashier my member number at the checkout line for the first time. I grew up in what most would consider an economically depressed community. Citizens in my community did not always have access to healthy food options. Food quality was often poor and community members were sometimes forced to travel outside of the city in search of quality foods. It is my belief that everyone deserves access to healthy and quality food options, which is why I believe that I would be a great addition to the board.

My background and passion to bring healthy and quality foods to the people in this region makes me poised to represent with integrity and to hold the interest of fellow members at heart. I believe in the co-op and have recognized that the markets are vital to the community. The co-op markets is the glue that binds the community together. It is a reliable source of nourishment and friendly faces. As a board member, I will advocate on behalf of my fellow members and represent them with purpose and dedication. I hope to be able to represent you. Thank you for considering my candidacy!


Ryan Madden

Ryan Madden

Hartford, Vt.—Co-op Food Stores, Cashier

As a lifelong Vermonter and frequent visitor of New Hampshire, I am glad to call myself an
Upper Valley resident. But, I am also a member of a declining demographic within the Upper
Valley; residents who stay here after graduating High School. Understandably, most graduates leave this region due to a belief in the lack of opportunity. A plan which I believe could deal with this matter is changing the way business is done; specifically, through creating workplace democracies. That is, businesses operated in a more democratic fashion. How would this plan prevent Vermonters and New Hampshirites from leaving? Well, many studies have shown that places with workplace democracies have employees that are happier than ones' with conventional jobs; some studies also suggest productivity is improved too. That would mean that, if this kind of system were created, said jobs would be more attractive than comparable ones in other states. This would be an incentive for most people to remain in the state.

Additionally, I would want to improve membership engagement; figure out what will encourage people to want to become involved in the operation of the Coop. This way the Coop can better fulfill the needs of the community. Furthermore, I would also wish to improve the relationships between the coop and our vendors. Perhaps a system could be created that would more clearly indicate where products are from. This would be an aid to conscientious shoppers. These projects are in agreement with the principles of the Coop; that being the values of
Cooperation and Democracy. I feel that, while the Coop has indeed done considerable good, there is room for improvement. Improvement that will enable us to build a better Upper
Valley. One in which more views and issues are heard and addressed.

If I am elected, I will promote the above proposals, and the issues and interests of the individuals I represent to the best of my abilities. I welcome different perspectives and points of view. I will be an avid, but not inflexible, advocate.


Orin Pacht

Orin Pacht

Thetford, Vt.—Goldsmith

As a lifelong resident of the Upper Valley, I see the Co-op as a vital part of our community not only because of the food-based opportunities it provides to those who need it, but because it shines as an example of sustainability, as an employer, and as a provider of information.Through my time as a Boy Scout and an Eagle Scout, I gained an appreciation for civic duty and helping others. Having now served on a variety of boards and committees in my town and county, as well as professionally, I believe I can put my critical listening and problem-solving skills to work not only to benefit the Board itself but also Co-op members, employees, and the community as a whole.

As a Board member, I would provide a perspective from someone aware of the Upper Valley’s rich cultural history. As the father of a second grader, I am keenly aware of how young families depend on healthy food and cooperative principles to thrive. On the Board, I would help make sure that those who need access to this healthy food, sustainable resources, and rich community can in fact have that access. As I work to set an example for my son, I believe that my ideals are in line with the cooperative principles and goals of the Co-op.


* Co-op voters, you may have noticed Yolanda Huerta’s name on the voting mailing; however, they have withdrawn their candidacy from the 2021 Co-op Board of Directors election, citing the need to relocate out of the area. From all of us on the Co-op Elections Committee, we thank Yolanda and the other declared candidates for their time and energy.

Additional Links

Voting Info & Online Forums
2021 Annual Meeting Info
Cast Your Vote Here

Hanover Store
45 South Park St.
Hanover, NH 03755
(603) 643-2667
8 am-8 pm

Lebanon Store
12 Centerra Pkwy
Lebanon, NH 03766
(603) 643-4889
8 am-9 pm

WRJ Store
209 Maple St.
WRJ, VT 05001
(802) 295-3400
8 am-8 pm

Co-op Market
43 Lyme Road
Hanover, NH 03755
(603) 643-2725
M-F: 6 am-8 pm
Sat-Sun: 7am-6pm

Service Center

51 South Park St.
Hanover, NH 03755
(603) 643-6650

Service Center

63 US 5 South
Norwich, VT 05055
(802) 526-9103
M-F: 7:30 am-4:30 pm

Co-op Kitchen
193 A St.
Wilder, VT 05088
(603) 442-4406
M-F: 6 am-2 pm