Jessica Giordani

The Co-op is a vital part of the Upper Valley community through its work as a local economic driver, supporter of local agriculture, and cornerstone for community member health & nutrition resources, and education. My personal background as a farmers’ market manager (currently in Lebanon, NH, and previously in Connecticut), and years of experience as a baker and market vendor would bring a unique experience to the board. I have experience working directly with farmers and specialty food producers, and value the work that they do. I believe that creating paths to make community members feel more connected to local agriculture positively benefits everyone-consumers are more inclined to shop local (which overwhelmingly provides them with higher quality sources of nutrition), and local farmers, as well as the Co-op, develop a more dedicated patronage. 
 
I’m also a small business owner (Scratch, a yarn and craft supply shop in Lebanon), which has given me the opportunity to build connections throughout the broader community. I have strong interpersonal skills, and have experience with advertising, community outreach, event organizing, and educational programming. I have two children in elementary school, and I think that the Co-op has tremendous potential to partner with schools to reach out to young people, and encourage the youth of our community to have healthy, positive relationships to food and nutrition. I’d love to have the opportunity to bring my passion for local agriculture, community engagement, and educational outreach to the Co-op. It would be an honor to serve my community through a position on the Co-op board. 
 

Candidate Questions

Why are you applying for a position on our Co-op’s Board of Directors and what is important to you about serving now? I've spent years involved in local food communities in a variety positions. From 2010-2015 I owned a small bakery in Connecticut which allowed me to work with local farmers to source my ingredients. I was a vendor at local farmers markets during that time, and stepped into the role of market master for one of them in 2014. In 2016, when I moved to New Hampshire to open my business in Lebanon, I still felt drawn to the local food community. In 2017 I was hired as the Lebanon Farmers' Market Coordinator. I feel that joining the board would be an opportunity for me to further serve my community, and support local agriculture and artisanal food producers in a meaningful way. 

How do you stay active within your community? As a local yarn shop owner I have the opportunity to have in-person interactions with people from all over the Upper Valley. In addition to owning Scratch I work for the city as the market manager for the Lebanon Farmers’ Market. The market allows me to stay connected to the local food community through my work with vendors and market patrons. I’m a member of the Upper Valley Farmers’ Market Collaboration. I’m also a member of the Upper Valley Arts Alliance representing Art City New Hampshire, the non-profit local arts initiative that I co-founded. Additionally, I have two children in elementary school, so I volunteer as a classroom educator for the Four Winds program. 
 
What role does our Co-op serve in our local economy and/or local agriculture? I think that the Co-op plays a key role in connecting members of the community with local agricultural producers in a way that makes farming feel more real. Building relationships to local agriculture through face to face interactions is an invaluable way for consumers to feel connected to and invested in supporting local food. Having farmers and producers come to Co-op locations with their products (for example, when Sunset Rock Farm samples their goat cheese) is a really effective way to educate the community about both food, and the farms here in the Upper Valley region by taking anonymity out of the experience of buying groceries. The Co-op is also a great resource for specialty foods, a wealth of information about nutrition, and a place for people to have hands-on experiences with new foods and local food culture.

  

 Nourish. Cultivate. Cooperate.

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