Meet your Food Shed Board
The following individuals make up your democratically elected Board of Directors. Read, in their words, why they have dedicated themselves to opening a community-owned grocery store in McHenry County.
Kim Brix - Secretary (2021-2023)
As an individual with many food allergies Kim is driven to open a food store in McHenry county where she can find a wide selection of healthy, organic, and locally grown foods free of pesticides and all under one roof.
Kim Brix is a recently retired nurse of 30 years, mother of two and grandmother of one. Owner of a fused glass art studio and business, namely Glassworks by Kim, located in Marengo, Illinois. Ten years ago she was co-founder of The Children's Center For Autism in Cary Illinois. She is passionate about eating healthy for living a long, healthy life.
Scott Brix - Vice-President (2021-2023)
Scott has witnessed (as a commercial food processing insider) how big Ag, globalization and the drive for high profits have negatively affected the mainstream food supply. This led him to generate a grass roots effort to start a local food co-op.
Scott is trained in food science, engineering and biotechnology. He has spent his career working with industrial enzymes and other bioproducts, applying them to food and other applications globally. He is passionate about leaving our planet habitable for future generations by helping industry and other consumers reduce their environmental footprint. Scott has witnessed, as a food industry insider, how globalization and intense pressure to produce high profits have negatively affected our mainstream food supply, our health and our environment. This motivated him to generate a grass roots effort to start a local food co-op in McHenry County, Illinois. Since starting his own bioproducts business in 2013, Scott is engaged in work he truly enjoys and hopes to leverage his skills to make a positive difference by thinking globally and acting locally.
Doug Close - Treasurer (2022-2024)
“Communities need to take back control and invest in their local food systems (aka Food Sheds) by building organizations that focus on localization….. history has clearly demonstrated that cooperative models empower local communities, everyday people and build democratic processes.”
Born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Doug went on to graduate from Eastern Illinois University with a B.A. in Communications. Doug currently resides in Huntley with his wife Kathie and family. Doug currently enjoys a successful career as an SVP for a national IT solutions company. Prior to Doug’s career in the computer industry, Doug owned and operated a small business for thirteen years.
Doug came to learn the true importance of local resilience efforts during and after the global financial crisis of 2008. Doug continues to research global risk in the areas of economics, energy and the environment and advocates that localization is the best step to proactively address risks caused by our current unsustainable practices. Doug states that “we live in a world of increased complexity and centralization directly competing with local, sustainable and decentralized systems which elevates the risk to communities by forces outside their control. A local food cooperative will be the spark for many more local initiatives."
Doug, one of the original Food Shed Co-op Steering Committee members and first Board President, is committed to ensuring the food cooperative store is a success and is inspired by the progress and community support to date. Doug also believes cooperation is the key component to a resilient future and history has clearly demonstrated that cooperative models empower local communities, everyday people and build democratic processes. Cooperatives also keep wealth in the communities well beyond just money to include a sense of place, empowerment, leadership, and charity.
Rusty Foszcz - President (2022-2024)
Because he LOVES to eat, Rusty Foszcz is interested in getting local food from the fields to the table quickly and organically. What’s important is to do this in a cost-effective way that makes prices competitive with larger chain grocery stores. McHenry County is rich with local farmers raising foods without pesticides – safe, organically healthy, and delicious. Restaurants like Duke’s Ale House in Crystal Lake are already serving these foods – Rusty believes we need to offer them to everyone in a Food Shed Co-op grocery store!
Rusty is a retired Information Technology consultant that now spends his time volunteering with non-profits both actively and in board member roles.
Martie Gorman (2022-2024)
When Martie Gorman retired after 35 years of full time teaching, she had the time and opportunity to have fun volunteering for causes and organizations that serve our community or preserve our environment. This led her to become an ESL tutor in conjunction with MCC, a volunteer for animal assisted programs at Main Stay Therapeutic Farm, and as a board member for the McHenry County Conservation Foundation.
After she became an owner with the Food Shed, volunteering at events allowed her to meet many like-minded residents who feel local and sustainably sourced food is important and necessary. When the chance came to be more centrally involved with the Food Shed, she gladly focused her energies to help open the first community-owned grocery store in McHenry County!
Vern Heinen (2022-2024)
I've been a resident of McHenry County for approximately 20 years and been retired for the past year. I've been a member of different food coops in the various places I've lived over the years and think there would be a great benefit to bringing a food coop to McHenry County. It would give access to healthful affordable food to the county residents and also provide an outlet for products from local farmers. I would like to serve on the coop board and play a more active role in helping to bring the Food Shed Co-op to a successful opening.
Claire Hodge (2022-2024)
Claire Hodge is a part-time organic vegetable farmer and owner of Sunfleck Farm, and full-time mom and home-maker. She also serves on the board of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County. Since resettling in McHenry Co with her family, she's invigorated by the growth of the local food movement and environmental efforts this community continues to support. Claire has farmed and researched local food systems for 10 years, and earned a M.S. in Sustainable Agriculture.
Having been a member of both rural and urban food co-ops, she knows the impact co-ops have on their communities-- through supporting local food entrepreneurs and farmers, empowering members to make decisions and share their values, providing healthy food options, and by simply being present and welcoming. Claire joined the board to share her knowledge and enthusiasm, to encourage local support, and to help bring this co-op’s vision of an ethical food community to fruition.
Cynthia Kanner (2021-2023)
Cynthia believes that with amazing resources right here in McHenry County that we are more than capable of supporting our local food system and sharing it with our community through a cooperative grocery store – The Food Shed. Keeping things local is better for the environment, people and our planet.
Cynthia has spent her career in non-profit management and has held leadership positions in the three organizations for which she has had the honor to work, including the current one – The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County where she is Executive Director. She has been a member of The Defenders since 2001 and has worked for them in various capacities since 2007, including as newsletter editor for 10 years. During that time, she also worked for Friends of the Fox River as a Stream Monitoring Educator. Before Cynthia moved to Illinois with her new husband in 2000, she was Director of Communications at Lowell Observatory where Pluto was discovered. Prior to residing in Flagstaff, Cynthia lived in her birth city, Washington, D.C., where she worked at The World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C. from 1987 to 1998. She was Executive Director of that organization from 1995 to 1998. Cynthia graduated from Duke University, where she studied Comparative International Studies, in May of 1987. She grew up in the beautiful state of New Jersey where they grow the best tomatoes and loves nature, animals, outdoor activities, especially hiking and kayaking, and traveling. She has extensive overseas travel experience, some of which included organizing and leading overseas study tours to Vietnam, Morocco, and South Africa. Other destinations of her travels include Egypt, the former USSR, Scandinavia, most of western Europe, parts of Eastern Europe, Latvia, Taiwan, South Korea and Costa Rica. She has enjoyed amazing local foods from her travels and knows that good food brings people together. Cynthia plays blues/rock flute and is married to physicist, Gary Kanner, and has two teenage boys – Dylan and Benjamin.
Caron Wenzel (2020-2022)
Caron Wenzel brings 35 years of involvement with food coops and working in and with Nature. She is married to Steve Wenzel. They have two grown adult sons, Greg and Jeff Wenzel and two grandchildren, Rupert and Harrison.
Caron is an environmental educator and consultant who is owner of Blazing Star Inc, a native seed and soil amendment company founded in 1990. She and her husband Steve have worked on conservation and green issues for over 25 years. Caron has also been an enthusiastic supporter of food co-ops since college.
Emily Zack (2021-2023)
I am Food Shed owner number 116. I have lived in McHenry County my whole life. Grew up in Crystal Lake and now reside in Woodstock with my husband and daughter, my son living on his own. I started falling in love with the local food push about 12 years ago and concentrated on shopping at farmers markets, growing and preserving food, reading labels at supermarkets for food grown close and paying more attention to our food supply chain. When I realized I could make a living out of this I went back to school at MCC and took horticulture classes to learn more about plant production. Soon I started growing for restaurants around McHenry County. Because I didn’t own enough land to do this I ran small gardens all over town. Later I ran the student farm at the Loyola Ecology Campus in Woodstock and then worked at Smart Farm of Barrington where all the produce goes to food pantries. Now I am the Farm Practicum Director at MCC where I can give back where I started this journey! McHenry County deserves a food co-op and I’m excited to be a part of it.
Sue Jensen (2022-2024)
Sue Jensen wants to help get the Food Shed Co-op up and running and for it to become a vital part of our community. She values healthy food, healthy connections with others and striving to make the local environment a healthy and happy place to live. With the announcement of the Food Shed’s new property and future store location, she has become excited to spread the word and do all that she can to help turn the idea of this co-op grocery store into a reality.
Sue stepped away from teaching as an elementary school art teacher in 2020, but has not struggled to fill in that freshly unoccupied time. Most recently, she has been keeping busy with the Outreach Committee of the Food Shed Co-op and working at two small bookstores. After a decade serving on the board of directors for the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, she stepped down to become the part-time manager of the Green Read Used Bookstore in Crystal Lake, and soon after, co-manager for the Green Spot in Woodstock, as well. She enjoys volunteering for educational programs at McHenry County Conservation District, participating in local restoration work days at various sites managed by the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and the Land Conservancy of McHenry County. She also volunteers for a number of Environmental Defenders’ action teams, the Recycling Action Team being the one that originally got her involved in environmental issues in our county. Trying to be an example and encouraging others to reduce waste has been a lifelong obsession.
Emily Kunash (2022-2024)
I’m Emily Kunash! I own a mental health counseling practice in Woodstock, where I live with my husband, our three children, and our rescue dog! I am really excited about having a co-op in our city, but I know that it will take a lot of hands-on deck to make this dream a reality for our community. In the past I served on our Leadership Council at First Church of Crystal Lake and was the founding President of Moms of McHenry County. Additionally, I recently graduated from Leadership Greater McHenry County where I continued my leadership growth. I am eager to use my leadership experience to support The Food Shed.
Tracy Bordis (2022-2022)
Tracy has tapped into her life experiences growing up with healthy food to foster better food choices for our local community. She has a deep personal mission to get the Food Shed Coop up and running.
“I grew up in Illinois on an acre where my dad tended to the fruit trees and my mom cared for the garden. Us five children were always involved. We picked strawberries in spring and ate jam on our toast all year long. We pressed apples in fall and the neighbor kids came to help. Our family made the best cider. The county fair was a big ordeal in our family, mom started planning when the catalogs came in the mail over the winter and grew her seedlings under lights in the basement. She was so proud of her entries and won lots of ribbons. To this day I still love the smell of damp soil.”
Tracy is committed to teach others about the cooperative model and will use her knowledge to inspire others and build connections for the Food Shed Coop.
“I attended community college before heading off to The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington which is where I discovered my first Food Cooperative. Shopping, attending community or educational events there made me feel connected.”
She is continuously looking for ways to tap into her long-standing career that will contribute to building resilience in the community.
Meet your Food Shed Staff and Consultants
These people are the backbone of the co-op! Without their dedication and energy things wouldn’t get done! Here are the Food Shed Co-op staff members.
Peter Waldmann - General Manager
My career started in the 1980’s, where I worked for one of the first health food retail chains in the nation, Mrs. Gooch’s. Since that time, I have enjoyed over 30 years of professional experience in the Natural Foods industry. I worked for several well-known retailers including; Whole Foods Market, Wild Oats Markets, Green’s Natural Foods and most recently PCC Community Markets. During my tenures I have held numerous positions, ranging from bagger to Chief Executive Officer. To date, I have opened over 20 retail grocery locations in 15 different states.
I have come to learn that business is among the most powerful entities in society. We have the substantial responsibility to use that influence to advance the wider common good.
I am honored to lead the Food Shed’s mission to create a local food cooperative that promotes a healthy, ethical and resilient community. In 2022, when the store opens, Woodstock and the surrounding communities will cross over a key milestone toward a self-sustained healthy environment.
I am passionate about democratizing community food access and control, supporting local vendors and ultimately bringing affordable, healthy, natural foods and products to the community. I plan on listening carefully to all our shareholders, staff and customers. Translating their feedback into a self-perpetuating and self-fulfilling grocery store experience.
We will navigate a course focused on the big picture of envisioning how food cooperatives are different than regular grocery stores. Using an operating system called Policy Governance, we will hold ourselves accountable to a triple net bottom line of social, environmental and financial responsibility. We will stand up for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
I am very lucky to have been married to my wife Amy for 27 incredible years. I have two amazing sons, Evan and Adam, both recent graduates from CU in Boulder. I believe that real leadership starts at home. My hobbies include; reading, food, and working out.
I am excited to join the Food Shed and look forward to connecting!