Prairie Food Co-op Community Grocery

Crystal Echevarria

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"Plant-based chef driven to enhance our community through food via education, accessibility, & awareness."

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Owner Number 941

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Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors? 

I have served on Prairie Food Co-op’s Ownership & Outreach Committee since 2019 and have really enjoyed being involved. My continued and additional involvement feels like a natural fit.
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Employment: Please tell us about your past or present employment
I currently own Culinary Confidante (est. 2017) a plant-based culinary education business that provides in-home culinary coaching, cooking parties and workshops. I am currently taking time off from this to enjoy my third baby, who we welcomed last August.
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Prior to Culinary Confidante I worked at Northern Illinois Food Bank as the Child Nutrition Programs Manager and then as the Nutrition Center Manager. I have also worked in various roles within the restaurant and hospitality industry for over 20 years.
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Volunteer: Membership/Affiliation/Leadership Past and Present:
2019- present: PFC Ownership & Outreach Committee 2021: Northwest Community Healthcare- Research Dept assisting with Covid data collection
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Which of the following areas do you have expertise?
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What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director?
During my time on the Ownership & Outreach Committee I have proven my ability to effectively organize events, network within the community and work well with the PFC team. Examples of this include the knife skills workshop, a reusable produce bag sewing workshop, the Ask a Chef series on Facebook live and the virtual Eat Well Be Well workshop.
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Additionally, I hold a Bachelors in Nutrition, Dietetics & Hospitality Administration as well as a Personal Chef Certificate from Kendall College. 
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What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?
I can’t wait for Prairie Food to bring local and sustainable foods to our community. Not only will it be a great place to shop but to meet friends as well. I would love to continue to be involved in bringing workshops to our community through PFC.
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What experience (if any) have you had with cooperatives, food or otherwise?
In college I frequented the Duck Soup Co-op in DeKalb. I definitely loved the bulk bins. Carob covered almonds and glad corn were my favorites! My two older children have attended the Co-op Preschool in Lombard and my third will go there as well when he’s old enough. I love how involved the parents and the teachers are. It really feels like a community.

 

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