How’s everyone’s summer going? Summer is often a time of transition and contrast — between grades in school, between school and the working world, and between everyday life and vacation adventures near and far.


This is a time of transition on Just Food’s board of directors as well, unexpectedly requiring the mid-year election of new officers. Our vice president, Karen Fossum, moved back to her former home of Seattle at the end of June to start a new job, and our president, Lee Runzheimer, has decided to step off the board and focus on his business and family interests. The board is grateful to Lee and Karen for their service and dedication to Just Food Co-op and we wish them well in their next endeavors.


At the July 24 board meeting, the board elected past president (2018) Penny Hillemann to finish out the year as president, and first-year board member Michael Pursell as vice president.


When board seats become vacant mid-year, the board can appoint new members to fill those seats to the end of the year, until those openings are filled through the fall board elections. Because the board has work to do, it is better not to let those seats sit empty. To fill Karen’s and Lee’s vacant seats to the end of the year, the board is appointing Dick Bodman and Dirk Peterson to the board.


Dick Bodman, a retired St. Olaf professor who ran for the board last fall in a highly competitive election (10 candidates for 5 open seats), plans to run for a full term again in this fall’s elections. Dick has a particular interest in how the Co-op can serve the Northfield area’s growing population of retirees, and has already shown his dedication to the Co-op by volunteering with our capital campaign efforts over the past year. Welcome, Dick!


When board openings have occurred mid-year in the past, the board has often found it helpful to appoint former board members who can step in without extensive orientation. Past president Dirk Peterson (2016-2017) volunteered to step in once more to complement this “young” board. His prior board experience will be appreciated. Thanks, Dirk!


Other than Penny, who is in her eighth and final year on the board, only one of the remaining members — Just Food staff member Nancy Malecha — was on the board before this year. It takes a while to become familiar with our policy governance model, and having some experienced board members in the mix is very helpful.


Before long our newer board members will be the experienced ones who will help future board members learn the ropes and chart Just Food’s future course. And that’s just as it should be.


-submitted by the Just Food Co-op Board of Directors