2023 Election for your

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors serves a critical role in overseeing and guiding our Co-op. Directors attend board meetings and the meetings of at least one committee. Three positions on the Board, each for three-year terms, become available at every annual election.

We have 7 candidates for three positions this year. The candidates are Alana Lucia, Jonathan Collier, Julann Brown, Keri Askew Bailey, Kimberly Hallinan, Lindsey Pratt, and Michael Mignone. Below you can read each candidate’s responses to what they love about BriarPatch, why they are running for a seat on the board, what will make them a good board director. Elections will be held May 1st through May 15th.

We invite you to attend the 2023 Board Candidate Forum on April 24th at 5:30pm on Zoom. Register today!

Your 2023 candidates are…


Alana Lucia

Incumbent Board President

Occupation: Bookkeeper, Diego’s Restaurant, Grass Valley, Calif.

Education: Spanish, Environmental Studies, Sierra College, Rocklin; BA, Spanish, Humboldt State University

What do you love about BriarPatch?

What I love about the BriarPatch has not changed in the years I have been on the Board, but it has certainly grown deeper. At the foundation, I appreciate that BriarPatch is a grocery store where I can find trusted foods. That we can support a loving community with the purchase of such foods is truly living the dream. The employees continue to be loving, caring people who you can count on for a warm greeting as well as knowledgeable information. We have a variety of opportunities to support local organizations directly and indirectly and when there is a catastrophe, we know BriarPatch is going to show up in the right ways and do the right things. What a community treasure!

Why are you running for the BriarPatch Food Co-op Board?

There are a variety of reasons I am running for another term on the BriarPatch Board. I was first elected in 2013 and have been a dedicated Board Member from the start. As such I have partaken in many workshops, retreats, seminars, and classes and have become a valuable part of the leadership. I have seen us navigate the purchase of the building, expand parking, and grow our sustainability goals. In my early years, we were focused on doing business responsibly and efficiently. As we succeeded, we grew our goals and became creative at using our success to be a supportive member of the larger community.

We have realized a certain level of sustainability that we had only dreamed of initially. So, I would like to continue another term on the Board so that we can continue to grow our impact on our community through our solid relationships and practices. It is exciting to see our ideals manifest into reality.

Why will you make a good Board Director?

I will continue to be a good Board member for a variety of reasons. The first is that I prioritize this work. I understand the ways in which we interact with the community locally and nationally. One of our greatest keys to success is that we use Policy Governance, and this tool has allowed us to do our work efficiently and clearly. With a solid understanding of our roles as directors, we use a variety of methods to gain an understanding of what the community is inspired by. Working as a team with the general manager, we have been able to achieve creative ways of manifesting those goals. The BriarPatch Board has become an efficient entity and is capable of achieving new levels of excellence moving into the future. I am very proud to have an opportunity to support this organization in any way possible.


Jonathan Collier

Incumbent Board Member

Occupation: Principal, Usher & Sage Consulting, Nevada City, Calif.

Education: Operations Management, Leed’s School of Business; Philosophy with focus on ontology, metaphysics, human and social behavior, University of Colorado.

What do you love about BriarPatch?

A lot has changed in the world over the last three years and so too with the Briarpatch, but there’s a consistent thread that stays unbroken and continues to remind me what I love about our co-op.

First, I love that we’re a mission-driven and value-driven organization. This means that our decisions and actions are guided by a strong set of core beliefs, beliefs that are rooted in the social good, the environment, future generations, as well as our own financial viability. We follow our Ends Policies which provide us with clear, consistent direction even in times of unprecedented change.

I love our staff. It’s incredible how our staff has shown up through all the challenges of the last three years. They continue to be friendly, maintain a positive attitude and are always helpful. It’s good quality folk like this that make us the nationally recognized coop that we are. I also love that we take care of them by paying competitive wages plus a strong benefits package and use an open book management system to empower them to continuously improve the organization.

I love how we support and nurture our local small farmers. We’re always looking at ways to help them out and make sure these hard-working folks can stay viable. Opening a new store and expanding their market reach is just one way that we hope to keep our local farm community vibrant and our greater community resilient.

I also love that we have a health food store of this caliber in our community and soon in Auburn. It’s easy to take for granted while living here and shopping at the Briarpatch for so many years, but every time I travel out of town, I’m reminded of how fortunate we are.

Why are you running for the BriarPatch Food Co-op Board?

I’m running for re-election to the Board of Directors to ensure the Briarpatch remains a thriving community hub and continues to make a positive impact in the future and that we can successfully do the same as we expand into Auburn.

We live in socially, culturally and economically turbulent times and as strong as we are as a co-op, we are also facing many challenges. It’s important to me that we preserve our historic values and legacy, while adapting to changing times. Let’s be a leader and model for social equity and inclusiveness in our community. Let’s make sure we support our existing local farmers and food makers while encouraging new ones to come online. Let’s continue to build stronger communities by supporting local nonprofits either through dollars and/or volunteers. Let’s find better ways to offer high quality, healthy food to our members and make it more accessible to those less fortunate. Let’s continue to offer information and education to our community so that people make better choices on how we take care of ourselves and our precious planet.

Our co-op is one of the most influential organizations making a positive impact in our community and beyond, and I would like to continue working on the board to see us remain so in the future.

Why will you make a good Board Director?

I believe that I’ll make a good Board of Director because I love our co-op, the people that work there, and the people and community it serves.

Having been on the board since 2017, I am able to draw on all the experience, insight and education that six years of service brings, including a strong familiarity with the people, processes, and planning that the co-op has intentionally developed over the years. It’s important to me that we stay aligned with our values and guiding principles, continue to make progress on our short- and long-term plans, and remain fiscally viable.

Also, as a community advocate, I have had the good fortune of serving on other local boards and committees such as: the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, the Nevada County Arts Council, the Advisory Board of Nevada County Grown, and the Food Policy Steering committee. This has provided me not only with board experience, but also insight into multiple perspectives of our local community that I believe make a valuable contribution when considering how we interact with our greater community and what direction we plan on moving in the future.

Finally, my background as a strategic business consultant brings a practical perspective to our board discussions. I make sure to contribute to the conversations by drawing in relevant business expertise and asking insightful questions to bring more depth to the issues that we face as a board.

Julann Brown

New Nominee

Occupation: Accounting Manager, ETK Painting, Rocklin, Calif.

Education: BA, Political Science, UC Santa Barbara

What do you love about BriarPatch?

In 2019, my husband and I joined in a local effort to create a Food Co-op in Auburn because we are strong believers in the concept of a supporting locally grown and sourced healthy foods. We were thrilled by the agreed upon acquisition of the Central Square Food Co-op by BriarPatch. We are avid listener/supporters of KVMR radio and are familiar with all the wonderful ways in which the BriarPatch Co-op supports the local community.

I have not had the opportunity to fall in love with the BriarPatch Co-op (yet) since we live and work in Auburn and the location of the BriarPatch Co-op in Grass Valley is a bit too far for us to be regular shoppers. What I do love about the soon to open BriarPatch Co-op in Auburn is that food co-ops are rooted in the communities they serve, which creates a sense of accountability among the workers, members, and shoppers. I love that the BriarPatch Food Co-op is committed to supporting a strong local food system and providing community education on healthy food choices and environmental sustainability. I am especially excited about the location of the Auburn BriarPatch Co-op right off the busy Bell Road/Highway 49 corridor, a hub of national retail chains and will be within walking distance to people/families with lower to moderate incomes. When one shops at or, better yet, becomes a member of a food co-op they are automatically taking part in a system that strives to increase community health and promotes social responsibility. Shopping at a food co-op is truly voting with your dollars for a healthier local economy and more sustainable local food system, and that is something we can all get behind.

Why are you running for the BriarPatch Food Co-op Board?

I am running for the BriarPatch Food Co-op Board because, like the BriarPatch, I too, am rooted in my community. We have lived in Auburn since 2000 having moved from San Francisco where at the time we had our oldest child enrolled in the Sunset co-op preschool. This was our first exposure to co-ops and we fell in love with the community.  We remained committed to the co-op structure when we were selecting new preschools for our two sons, joining Sierra Preschool and then Tutor Totter in Auburn. I served on the Boards of all these Co-ops.  I continued my involvement in my sons’ education when they entered elementary school by serving in leadership positions in parent teacher clubs and school district committees and eventually served 2 terms on the Auburn Union School Board.  Sadly, I lost my bid for re-election in November 2022. Despite the loss, I remain committed to staying connected with my community in a positive manner. Serving on the BriarPatch board would provide me with an opportunity to continue to do so. I consider myself a lifelong learner and am excited about the chance to learn about the grocery industry and local food systems. At heart I am a community and public advocate and love the idea of bringing my voice to this organization.

Why will you make a good Board Director?

I would make an excellent Board Director because I understand Board Governance. My experience serving on the local school board taught me the importance of setting the vision and policy for an organization while trusting others to implement those policies. I have had extensive trainings on Board Governance, the Brown Act, conducting public meetings and the importance of complete confidentiality when it comes to personnel matters. I understand that through consensus the Board of Directors acts as one when making decisions about policy and budget. The COVID-19 Crisis taught me how to calmly govern through tumultuous and uncertain times and I am proud of my leadership over the past few years. Through my profession as a bookkeeper I know standard accounting and finance protocols. Through my service on the AUSD school board, I understand complex budgeting and planning. Through my service as a Regional Delegate to the California School Boards Association, I understand all too well the importance of state legislative initiatives on local policies and communities.

Through my education, professional experience, volunteer work, and public service and leadership, I have been able to make meaningful contributions to our community’s education policy and funding. I know I can bring these same skills to the BriarPatch Food Co-op and continue to bring about positive change to the community.

Thank you for your consideration.

Keri Askew Bailey

New Nominee

Occupation: Group VP, State Government Affairs, Charter Communications, Sacramento, Calif.

Education: BA, Pre-law Studies, University of the Pacific

What do you love about BriarPatch?

I fell in love with Briar Patch on my first visit and look forward to the co-op opening in Auburn. The variety of options available for a broad array of dietary needs and preferences is incredible. I love knowing my household’s food dollars are helping support local producers and healthy options. Members can feel good about supporting a movement toward a more sustainable food system. The co-op’s expansion will allow my community to enjoy ethically sourced, high-quality food available right at our doorsteps. While I travel to Grass Valley as often as possible to shop, it is difficult to make the trip and I look forward to being able to make the co-op my weekly shop. I would be honored to serve on the Board as the co-op expands to help accomplish great things as it balances the needs of two diverse communities. I believe in community engagement as an integral part of bringing communities together and it is important to bring diverse perspectives to the co-op Board. My past experience in the retail grocery industry and long career in politics and public policy give me a unique perspective and set of skills that would be an asset to the co-op and its membership.  

Why are you running for the BriarPatch Food Co-op Board?

I believe I bring a unique set of qualifications to the table. I have worked in politics and public policy in California, and the Western US, for over three decades. I spent more than a decade working on public policy in the California States Legislature. Working for five separate members of the California State Assembly I had the privilege of helping craft statewide policies on a variety of issues including consumer privacy and school bus safety. I worked my way up from a Legislative Aide to ultimately serving as a Chief of Staff. After leaving the Legislature, I spent nearly a decade lobbying for a statewide trade association in the credit union movement. While there I worked on significant data breach and privacy statures along with a variety of additional financial services regulation and oversight as well as access to capital in underserved communities. I also spent more than a decade leading public policy efforts for a trade association representing California’s retail grocery industry. In [those] roles, I was able to gain a deep understanding of the overall food system and learn about various aspects of the retail grocery business – from supply chain to employment issues to operations. I worked on major policy initiatives around sustainability, (including the State’s uniform single-use bag statute), the WIC and SNAP programs, transportation and goods movement, Proposition 65 disclosure requirements, green chemistry regulations, oversight and regulation of organic production and labeling, animal production regulations, food packaging regulations, and food access/food desert issues to name a few.

Why will you make a good Board Director?

I currently serve as Group Vice President, State Government Affairs in the West Region for a national, Fortune 100 company. Working in the private sector has given me a different, more expansive and rounded view of business operations and helped me develop a more holistic perspective on meeting the unique needs of communities and customers. Successful businesses can absolutely help contribute positively to the communities they serve. I currently manage a staff of 19 team members working in 7 Western states and have responsibility for a budget of more than $3 Million. I’m accountable to deliver the best possible results across hundreds of communities and to help forge solutions across very diverse political landscapes. That has given me a unique ability to identify common values in high pressure environments. My passion for politics and public policy stretches back to my high school and college years, and I earned my bachelor’s degree in the field. I have served on a number of non-profit Boards including a non-profit in Sacramento, a statewide ethnic chamber of commerce, and the CSU Foundation Board. I have a passion for community service and participated in volunteer work in Cambodia with an organization dedicated to fighting sex trafficking. I currently sit on the Greater Auburn Ares Fire Safe Council. My husband and I have lived in North Auburn (Bowman) for nearly eight years and love the community and all it has to offer. Briar Patch will be an incredible asset and resource for Auburn and the region. It would be an honor and privilege to serve on the Board and help the co-op continue to bring quality, sustainable, ethically sourced options to communities.

Kimberly Hallinan

New Nominee

Occupation: Rood Center, Nevada City, Calif.


What do you love about BriarPatch?

What I love most about BriarPatch Food Coop is that I don’t have to read the labels to ensure “clean” products! Yay! And I appreciate the commitment to organic produce and local sourcing of food, as much as possible. BriarPatch has product standards. There are insidious ingredients that find their way into our food and I so truly appreciate a grocer who is watching out for that and avoiding them. In addition to product standards, I want to support a grocer who is deeply committed to being a part of the fabric of the community of which they are an integral part.

Why are you running for the BriarPatch Food Co-op Board?

I am running for the board of BriarPatch because I have an extensive background in the natural foods industry and I want to support this member-owned grocery with the depth and breadth of the skillset that I have accumulated over a career in the industry. But it is not just this. I have attended a few board meetings and I am impressed at how seriously the board considers, not just their commitment to their members, but also their commitment to the entire community through the variety of support programs the coop has. This is a business that goes above and beyond to participate in the economic development of the local community. I would like be a part of and support this deep-rooted community engagement.

Why will you make a good Board Director?

Coupled with my extensive career background, and the alignment of my personal values with those of the coop, I also have extensive board experience in both local community-based non-profit boards as well as boards in the natural foods industry. As a BriarPatch board member I think I could serve the board, the membership and the community-at-large well from both a local community engagement perspective as well as a competitive industry-wide perspective.

Lindsey Pratt

New Nominee

Occupation: Farm-to-school Coordinator, Communications Coordinator, Sierra Harvest, Nevada City, Calif.

Education: Sustainability Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

What do you love about BriarPatch?

I love shopping at BriarPatch! The Co-op offers local, high quality, healthy, and ethically crafted goods that would be otherwise hard to access if BriarPatch wasn’t a part of our community. As a former farmworker of a farm that had sales commitments through BriarPatch, I know that the Co-op is an integral part of supporting local farms and our overall local food economy. 

Why are you running for the BriarPatch Food Co-op Board?

I love when groups of people work together to make organic food-related endeavors successful. After years of working in different food-and-farming-related environments, I’d love to continue to contribute to my community and my local food economy by participating in BriarPatch Food Co-op’s Board of Directors. 

Why will you make a good Board Director?

My skills and experiences as a Coordinator for Sierra Harvest, as well as a volunteer Board member for the Nevada City Farmers Market, and as a former farmworker in this community, provides me with an intimate understanding of running food-focused organizations. Working as a team with a diverse Board and staff, I have provided knowledge and support with program execution & planning, outreach, developing & maintaining relationships, as well as leading conversations around equity within our local food system. I am well suited to navigating the nuances of communicating and coordinating when groups of people come together to achieve shared goals.               

Michael Mignone

New Nominee

Occupation: Retired Business Owner


What do you love about BriarPatch?

I am a retired after owning my own business for 40 years with oversight of approximately 200 people.  I have been a self-starter and always was looking for newer and better ways of expanding my business, and it all starts with service to those who utilize my services.

I have extensive experience working with the highest-level ownership and management of some of the largest hotels in the United States and have maintained long lasting relationships as part of the way I do business.  People are always at the forefront of my focus as I go about my day.

Why are you running for the BriarPatch Food Co-op Board?

I am desiring to become involved in BriarPatch co-op for a myriad of reasons.  Volunteering is a big part of my retirement time and BriarPatch seems like the best venue for my time and talents.

Why will you make a good Board Director?

My wife, Marcy, and I love the entire concept. The fact that it is a Non-Profit and is wide reaching in its services to the community, including other local charities, and the quality of food offered is exceptional, reaches the core of how I want to serve my community in retirement.

I have been blessed with a lovely family, business success and good health and now is time to continue to give back to others.



Tuesday, May 30, 7-8:00pm 

General Manager Chris Maher will present 2022 financials to the Ownership.  

Pre-registration is required for attendance via ZOOM Teleconference.