Prairie Food Co-op Community Grocery

Tracey E Smith

TES_PFC.jpgWhy are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors?

I view the opportunity to serve on the Prairie Food Co-op Board as a chance to feed my soul while working cooperatively with fellow board members and fellow owners to bring local, organic, sustainable food to our community and my home. I am passionate about eating well, being healthy and leaving everything in my path better than I found it. I would love to combine my passion for wellness with my years of business experience and work as part of a team that will bring Prairie Food Co-op to Lombard and the neighboring communities

What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director?

I am an experienced leader in government, corporations and not-for profit organizations. Throughout most of my professional life you would have found me directing projects, overseeing human resources and operations, negotiating contracts, managing budgets and organizing successful grassroots campaigns. I believe my business acumen, combined with my results-oriented, on-time, under budget focus will help us successfully navigate the many business complexities facing us through store opening and beyond.

What experiences have you had with food co-ops in the past?

While things are starting to change, we haven’t had many co-ops to choose from in this area. But buying local, eating organic, supporting sustainable and humane farming have been close to my heart for many years. So my shopping at food co-ops was often limited to the times when we would travel to Minnesota to visit friends. It was during one of those Minnesota trips that we searched the internet to find a local food co-op to join. At a rest area, somewhere between Minneapolis and Chicago, we entered in our credit card and became owners of Prairie Food Co-op. Since then, I ‘ve become an Interim Board Member, attended the annual Up & Coming, Up & Running Cooperative Conference in Bloomington IN and learned a lot about the co-op lifecycle, the co-op principles and the work that is necessary to bring a co-op to our community .

Throughout the years, I’ve woven the fundamental philosophies of co-ops into much of my work as a grassroots organizer. Two statements, “Stronger together than alone” and “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has,” are at the root of much of the work I’ve done through the years. In the ‘90s I started the first National Prostate Cancer Advocacy Program in collaboration with the National Prostate Cancer Coalition and Us TOO International. Working together with prostate cancer survivors and their families we helped them develop the skills and strength necessary to advocate on their own behalf for prostate cancer awareness, education and funding. All were welcome in our circle, another principle of co-ops.

What else would you like Prairie Food owners to know about you?

A little over two years ago life changed for me. A severe reaction to a common prescription drug left me critically ill. I promised, if I made it through, it would be a game changer! So, on the other side of illness, I’ve emerged 71 pounds lighter, I walk 7 – 10 miles a day, I no longer eat grains, wheat, dairy or processed foods, I am off all medications and I begin every day with a simple statement… Life IS Good.

Together we built this. Join us.