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2019 Candidates for Food Co-op Board of Directors

Member-owners of the Fredericksburg Food Co-op will vote in an upcoming election to fill three board positions. Those elected will serve a three-year term: October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2022. Board members serve as volunteers, without compensation, and they devote substantial time and effort to bringing a food co-op to Fredericksburg. This promises to be an exciting and energizing year as the board converts from a “working board” to a “governing board” with the hiring of a General Manager for the Food Co-op.

The Fredericksburg Food Co-op is fortunate that three members have stepped forward and volunteered to serve on the Co-op board. The board candidates are: Gerald Anderson, Michael Spragins, and Els Van Wingerden. Please view their photos and biographies below.

Voting will take place online starting the week of September 9 and in person at the Food Co-op Annual Meeting on September 22.

CO-OP MEMBERS: Look for an email that will permit you to vote electronically starting the week of September 9.
Fredericksburg Food Co-op Bylaws require that a quorum of least 10 percent of member-owners vote. Therefore we ask you to cast your ballot even though there are three candidates for the three open positions.

We encourage you to attend the Annual Meeting on September 22 even if you vote electronically. At the Annual Meeting there will be an update on progress toward opening the store, delicious homemade refreshments, and plenty of cooperative camaraderie.

The Annual Meeting is open to EVERYONE and all are encouraged to attend – members and non-members alike.


Candidates for service on the Board of Directors of the Fredericksburg Food Co-op for a three year term, October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2022.


I am running for the board of directors because I believe strongly in the value of what the Food Co-op is attempting to accomplish and the expected end results…growing a vibrant community, improving the wealth of the local economy by supporting our local farmers and entrepreneurs, engaging the community through events and lectures to strive for greater health and well-being, serving as an example in fostering a green and sustainable environment, and finally, providing jobs with livable wages and benefits. Further, I believe that I have the drive, experience, and ability to be an asset in making this happen.

I possess nearly 50 years of highly diverse project and organizational management experience. For the past three years, I have been on the board, serving as Treasurer and also as a member of the member loan campaign committee, the store site selection committee, the 5K committee, and the site development oversight committee. I also serve as the Food Co-op’s representative to the Virginia Cooperative Council, a state organization designed to promote cooperative organizations of all types in the Commonwealth.

I have been involved in property development, being responsible for interfacing with architects, planners, contractors, and city and county building officials on building construction and renovation projects. I also conceived, directed and managed government-sponsored environmental projects for over thirty years in the private sector and I ran my own Virginia-based technical consulting services firm for five years.

Fredericksburg has been my home with my wife and two step-sons for the past 18 years. I love the area and have been active in the community for several years. I ran for the state house of delegates in 2017. I am a sustaining member of the local League of Women Voters, currently serving as chair on an affordable housing for low-income seniors effort, and I am active in the Sierra Club. I personally would like to see Fredericksburg become recognized as one of the most livable and dynamic cities in the United States, and I believe that the Food Co-op will be a great step in that direction.


After several years as a member of the Fredericksburg Food Co-op, I am offering myself as a candidate for the Board of Directors. My past experience as a lawyer and then college professor and administrator has prepared me well for this position. I am retired and have the time to devote to the important duties and responsibilities of a member of the Board of Directors.

I have a B.S. degree in Business from Wake Forest University and a J.D. degree from Drake University Law School. After spending several years as an active duty lawyer in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, I helped found the Paralegal Technology Program at Johnston Community College in North Carolina and led it for nearly two decades. I am also a certified Mediator and founded the Mediation Center at the college, which I supervised for several years. I then spent years leading the Business, Public Service, and Technology Department at the college. This position allowed me to manage several widely differing fields, such as Business, Accounting, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Networking, Machining, HVAC, the Truck Driver Training School, and the Basic Law Enforcement Training School. I managed and hired several dozen full-time faculty and dozens of adjunct faculty. Leading this large department involved setting a direction for my varied programs and making sure that all members were aware of that direction and were invested in making sure we met our goals. In 2013 the Governor of North Carolina awarded me the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine,” which is the highest state award for public service.

My legal knowledge and experience teaching Business Law and Corporate Law will be helpful as the Food Co-op considers structural changes and transitions from a Working Board to a Governing Board. I believe that the Food Co-op can become an indispensable part of Fredericksburg life, but to do so the Board must effectively communicate our mission to the public. We must show that the Co-op is open to everyone and dispel myths and misconceptions of what it is. We must build our brand within the community, be present at city events, and show that we are more than just an average grocery store.

I have come to understand the leadership and management style necessary to operate within a volunteer organization that is beginning its public life. I can effectively manage persons with disparate talents and dispositions, and I have experience in creating an atmosphere of cooperation among the people I work with. These skills will be valuable assets in building a cohesive, successful organization.


The Fredericksburg Food Co-op embraces the values we all look for in a world where daily news warns us about toxicity, pollution, carbon footprints, food shortages, and corporate malfeasance. Our mission statement—Local, Member-Owned, Healthy Natural Foods, Sustainable Practices and Concern for the Community—is a goal we can all support!

Growing up in a large extended family of vegetable and fruit growers in the Netherlands, I didn’t know that some people bought their produce in grocery stores…. Many years later, having traveled and lived in major cities all over the world, I still gravitate towards fresh local produce!

My husband and I moved to Fredericksburg in 2003 and became Food Co-op members two years ago. Shortly afterwards, I got a request to make some energy bites (“what’s that?”) for a Food Co-op event and became involved in member recruitment, working with all the wonderful Co-op volunteers.

As I got more and more excited about getting our Food Co-op off the ground, I joined a few committees, attended a conference and participated in Board meetings and training sessions:

• Site Selection Committee, March 2018 – July 2019; we signed the lease for our store!
• Capital Campaign Committee, November 2018 – July 2019; we raised $1.7 million!
• Milwaukee, Conference for Up-and-Coming Food Co-ops, March 1-2, 2019; we got an award!
• General Manager Search Committee, as of June; we’ll hire the best manager for our Co-op!
• Board meetings (open to all members!) and training sessions
◦ How to shift from a Working Board to a Policy Governance Board (August)
◦ On-boarding of our new General Manager (in September)

At this point, as you might have guessed, I’m fully committed to join forces with the other Board members and create a financially successful Food Co-op. I enjoy working on this project and will dedicate as much time as necessary to make our Food Co-op a success story.

Some background information: In my professional life, I have worked primarily for and with multilateral organizations such as the World Bank, WHO, UNDP and others concerned about improving conditions in developing countries. I’ve been involved in educating children who are on the Autism Spectrum and over the last four years I’ve been active on the local Walk to End Alzheimer’s Committee.

I would be honored to represent you on the Fredericksburg Food Co-op’s Board!

August 23, 2019