Board of Directors
Mass Local Food currently has a seven-member Board of Directors, including five officers and two at-large members. The co-op community elects the members of the Board at the annual meeting (usually held in February). Incoming Board members will each serve a three-year term.
The Board of Directors meets once a month, usually on the second Thursday after Distribution Day. This is a closed meeting.
We are pleased to introduce our Board of Directors.
Kelley O’Connor, President
Kelley O’Connor has a BA in Math from Bowdoin College and 22 years’ experience in software engineering and technical support. She grew up on a small farm in Harvard and has fond memories of life on the farm. Kelley learned about peak oil in 2005 and became very interested in food security. When the Oklahoma Food Cooperative announced it was giving away its software in 2006, she decided to start a similar local food cooperative in Massachusetts. Kelley attended the Food Co-op workshop hosted by the Oklahoma Food Co-op in May 2007, where she learned about the Oklahoma co-op’s history and how it works. Since January 2007, Kelley has worked toward gathering local “foodies” who are interested in participating in a local food cooperative. After a couple of false starts, she found the necessary enthusiasm and commitment in Kerrie Hertel and Sheryl Vaillette to form a planning committee.
Kerrie Hertel, Vice President for Producers
For many years Kerrie Hertel worked as a software engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation and Simplex Time Recorder. In 2002 she left engineering to spend time with her children. She and her husband, Andy, purchased Maple Heights Farm in 2007 and are working to return it to a viable farm. Kerrie contacted Kelley O’Connor in 2008 after reading about Kelley’s efforts in the newspaper, and has been working with Kelley ever since. Kerrie is an organizer of the Westminster Farmers’ Market and a member of the Westminster Agricultural Commission.
Sheryl Vaillette, Vice President for Customers
Sheryl Vaillette has a degree in education from Fitchburg State College and taught at the elementary and preschool levels for seven years. She was the Central MA Coordinator for Massachusetts Parents Anonymous (now Parents Helping Parents) for fourteen years. Sheryl completed the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program offered by the UMass Extension Service and also taught a puppet-based, hands-on nutrition curriculum while working at the preschool. She currently serves as co-chair of the local chapter of the MA Green-Rainbow Party and developed and implemented a “Buy Local” campaign for North Central MA with the Nashua River Green-Rainbow chapter. Most recently, Sheryl helped start the Westminster Farmers’ Market.
Sheryl became aware of Mass Local Food while co-planning the Westminster Farmers’ Market. At that time, she was growing increasingly concerned about our food system, climate change, globalization, peak oil, and social isolation. She was intrigued by MLF’s plan to utilize local, sustainable growers and to implement a small-scale distribution system. Because she is passionate about good food, informed customers, and the right to choose a local delivery system over a global one, Sheryl thinks volunteering for Mass Local Food is the perfect fit for her.
Jane Ranley, Secretary
Jane Ranley grew up in Westminster with lots of memories of growing and canning vegetables from the family backyard garden. After receiving her BA in Social Work and a MS in Rehabilitation Counseling, she worked for 10 years in a vocational rehab program for special needs adults in Boston. Jane left her job to raise her 2 sons and work with her husband, Tom in a medical packaging business. They also ran a quick copy business for several years in Holliston, MA.
When their youngest son graduated from high school, Jane and Tom moved to Lunenburg to be near Jane’s parents. While attending the Westminster Anniversary Parade, Jane saw an ad for Mass Local Food and joined the co-op in November, 2009. A few months later, she started volunteering on distribution day, helping with the meat check-in and sharing the driving duties to bring orders to the Holden site each month.
Jane believes strongly in supporting local farms and thinks Mass Local Food is an excellent way to show that support.
Mae Zagami, Treasurer
Mae Zagami grew up in Somerville and attended Boston State College (now part of UMass Boston). She worked for New England Mutual Life Insurance Company, where she held positions in Policyholder Services and Marketing. She was ultimately promoted to Second Vice President before leaving the company in 1994.
While working at New England Life, Mae turned her design hobby into a business. In 1989 she launched Creative Designs in Kitchens & Baths, in Stow, specializing in kitchen and bath design and remodeling. An avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, and the New England Patriots, Mae enjoys watching and attending sports events. She currently resides in Hudson with her husband, Bob, and they have two daughters.
Karen Sargent, At-Large Member
Born and raised in the Midwest, Karen Sargent learned how to cook, bake, sew, and garden from her mother and grandmother. After receiving degrees in microbiology (BS) and fungi (MA), Karen moved to upstate New York. Finding there was little demand for her job skills, Karen returned to school and earned a degree in dietetics and nutrition. She later became a registered dietician. Karen moved to Massachusetts, where she became involved in nutrition research studying the effects of low-fat to high-fat diets on weight gain and weight maintenance in mice. She later went on to research diabetes, cancer, and other health-related subjects.
Karen has been active in the local Green-Rainbow party, where she became involved in the promotion of local food. She is a consumer member of Mass Local Food Co-op, as well as a seasonal producer. Her salsa kit is available in the fall, both through the co-op and at the Westminster Farmers’ Market. Karen also helps the Westminster Friends Meeting make pies to sell at their spring and fall Market Days. They have been known to make 20 pies in an evening!
Margaret LeRoux, At-Large Member
Margaret LeRoux is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in publications ranging from academic to business and general interest magazines. She contributes to Worcester Living and Edible Boston magazines and was a restaurant and food writer for the Worcester Phoenix. Margaret also is an enthusiastic amateur gardener and cook who grew 80 heads of garlic in her back yard last year. Margaret and her husband, Michael Volkert, joined Mass Local Food Co-op in October 2009; since then their consumption of local food has improved dramatically, and they happily avoid the supermarket meat department. Margaret also serves on Mass Local Food’s producer standards committee and publicity committee.