Kelly Matthews – President
Kelly Matthews, the owner of A Place For You Early Childhood Consulting in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, joyfully explores engaged learning with people of all ages. Currently, Kelly sits on the boards of Wisconsin Family Child Care Association and The Registry. In addition to loving education, she is passionate about food and makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich. When not cooking, Kelly makes use of her local library, knits, plays lots of volleyball, and has been known to make paper from scratch. She earned her MA in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College and is exceptionally proud of this educational experience grounded in social justice and practical life.
Stephanie Gyldenvand – Vice President
Stephanie received her undergrad in Human Services and minor in music from UW-Oshkosh. She served two years as an Americorps VISTA and is currently the head organizer for ESTHER of the Fox Valley, a non-profit interfaith social justice organization. She as an honoree for the 4 Under Forty award in 2012 which celebrates emerging leaders in our community. Stephanie has been a dedicated board member since day one. Her personal goal with the co-op is to see that the diverse needs of the community are met and are affordable to all income levels. Connecting to food pantries and offering cooking classes to the public are among her long term vision of the Oshkosh Food Co-op.
Lawrence Stahowiak – Treasurer
Bachelor of Arts degree – U.W. Milwaukee
Retired: State of Wisconsin, Department of Corrections, Registrar
Lawrence has a long time interest in a healthy life style including clean, healthy and locally produced food. He has been a longtime member of the Outpost Natural Food Coop in Milwaukee, since co-op’s formative years in the 1970’s. Lawrence also became a member of the Willie Street Coop in Madison, WI, after a move from Milwaukee to the Madison area in 1986.
His goal is to help create a cooperative grocery store in Oshkosh that will provide clean and healthy food to the members of our coop and the Oshkosh community as well.
Lawrence is a long time believer and an advocate of the cooperative principles and would like to apply these principles to build community involvement and support towards a successful enterprise where democratic member control will direct decision-making and create policies for the cooperative.
Brenna Root - Secretary
Brenna Root grew up in rural northern Wisconsin where her Grandpa Fred, who had the greenest of green thumbs, taught her all about gardening. She has loved to garden and cook from a very young age. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health Education from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in May of 2011. After graduating, Brenna served as an AmeriCorps member with Wisconsin Health Corps for two years at the Winnebago County Health Department, specifically with re:TH!NK. She now works at the Waushara County Health Department as a Public Health Educator. Brenna is passionate about food and health, has an adventurous spirit, and is so excited to be working to make the Oshkosh Food Co-op a reality!
Brenda Haines is co-founder/co-owner of Blue Door Consulting, an Oshkosh-based marketing consulting firm she started with a business partner in 2002. Through her consulting practice, she helps organizations of all sizes – from start-ups to national brands – grow and prosper. A country kid who grew up less than a mile from her grandparents’ farm in Western Wisconsin, Brenda remembers vividly childhood summers spent weeding her parents’ vegetable garden and picking wild berries in the woods. She is a passionate believer in the power of community ownership. She serves as Board Chair for Verve, A Credit Union – one of Wisconsin’s largest credit unions. She is a past president of the American Marketing Association – Northeast Wisconsin Chapter (another start-up!). And, she is a speech coach for the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh’s Youth of the Year. Brenda and her husband, Alex, are also members of the Willy Street Co-op in Madison.
Paul Van Auken
Paul has been a member of the Sociology and Environmental Studies faculty at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh since 2007, after completing a Ph.D. in sociology from UW-Madison. Prior to that he completed an M.A. in urban affairs & public policy and worked in the nonprofit sector doing community and economic development. He now teaches rural sociology (with a strong emphasis on the U.S. food system), sociology of the modern city, environment and society, social ecology (which has recently been team-taught with a film professor, with students making short documentaries on social ecological issues), and sociology senior seminar. He conducts research on issues related to neighborhood, community, land use, planning, sustainability, and teaching and learning and is highly engaged in local affairs. Square One, the grassroots organization he co-founded, launched both Views & Brews, a regular community conversation, and the Creating a Stronger Community Contest, which brings local people together to choose projects to receive seed money. The winners in the first two contests were both food related, the first being the Oshkosh Food Co-op group, which led to him joining the board of directors.
Za is a member of the Geography and Environmental Studies faculty at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where she teaches courses such as environmental conservation, environment and society, and economic geography. In her research, she studies how different people participate in biodiversity conservation policies and practices and is heading up a new project on sustainability in the Fox River Watershed. She is a member of the Community Economies Collective (communityeconomies.org), an international group of scholars working on envisioning and enacting ethical community economies. Before coming to Oshkosh, Za completed a three–year postdoctoral appointment at Harvard University and previously served in the Peace Corps in West Africa and Americorps in New Mexico. The Co-op is a business that is structured around ideas that she is deeply committed to: supporting and proliferating economic models and practices that empower people, build community, and are environmentally sustainable. Her dream for the Oshkosh Food Co-op is a thriving gathering place where people come to purchase food, to work, to meet friends, and where stepping through the doors makes you feel like you are part of a community.
Melissa grew up dairy farming with her parents and three siblings west of Neenah. From their start in 1990, the Weyland’s believed in farming in harmony with nature. By following biological farm practices, they focused on building soil health and fertility to nurture a robust, resilient farm ecosystem that wasn’t dependent on synthetic inputs to thrive. The Weyland’s have been Certified Organic since the year 2000. Today they milk 100 cows and operate around 1600 acres as a family.
Melissa also works off-farm at CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley, the nation’s largest farmer-owned organic co-op. She serves as a Regional Pool Manager where she works with over one-hundred organic and transitioning producers throughout eastern and north central Wisconsin. In her position, Melissa acts as a liaison between the cooperative and its members, serves as a regional ambassador, is responsible for member recruitment, oversees integrity and provides local support as a co-op and organic expert.
When not eating or cooking, Melissa enjoys gardening, reading, running, yoga and spending time with her cows. She is an advocate for clean eating, healthy lifestyles, and the local food movement.
“Now more than ever in my lifetime, we are seeing consumer and agriculture trends shifting rapidly, relatively in unison. I am excited and committed to fostering these changes as we move to a more secure and equitable food system from our seeds to our forks!”
Nicole grew up in the small town of Necedah, Wisconsin. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where she received a degree in Accounting, with a minor in Economics. Nicole remained in Oshkosh after graduating; loving the larger city that still has a small town feel. She has a home downtown with her boyfriend, teenage daughter, and two dogs. Living there allows them to be walking distance to all that the downtown has to offer. Nicole is the Accounting Manager at Verve, also a member-owned cooperative. This is where she learned first-hand what it means to work under The 7 Cooperative Principles. In her free time, she has volunteered for the Oshkosh Humane Society and Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services. She loves taking bike rides on her cruiser, seeing live music, getting her kayak out for a paddle and spending time with her family. She also can’t wait to do her shopping at the Oshkosh Food Co-op!