Governance

The Butte Food Co-Op is governed by a working Board of Directors, who are democratically-elected by fellow member-owners. The Board of Directors provides overall direction for the Co-Op’s development and aims to ensure long-term sustainability and viability of the Co-Op.

About Us

About our Board of Directors

The Butte Food Co-Op is currently governed by a working Board of Directors made up of seven, democratically-elected, member-owners who serve the Co-Op. The Butte Food Co-Op Board of Directors is still considered to be a working board, meaning that it oversees not only governance of the Co-Op, but the business development and member-owner outreach (and everything else in between!) and is responsible for ensuring overall organizational performance of the Co-Op on behalf of all member-owners.

The Butte Food Co-Op board meets bi-weekly. Board meetings are open to member-owners. If you would like to attend a bi-weekly board meeting, please email us at: buttefoodcoop@gmail.com. We would be happy to put you on the agenda.

Agendas and minutes for board meetings are available upon request. Please email us at: buttefoodcoop@gmail.com.

Meet our Board

Clayton Elliot

Board Member, Finance Committee Co-Chair
Elected: January 2023
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How long have you been involved in the Co-Op?

My name is Clayton Elliott and I am currently serving as a general Board member of the Butte Food Co-op. I have been serving in this role since January of 2022 and was just re-elected to my second term.

 Why do you want a Co-Op in Butte? Why is it important to you?

The Butte Food Co-op is a great opportunity to build community around food and shared tables. Butte has a tremendous sense of family and pride in our collective story, including our food heritage. I love being part of a movement to help lift our community up from the ground to the table, and I believe that more accessible, locally sourced food products can be a great shared asset for our community. In our home, we love sharing meals with family and friends, new and old alike, and I wanted to be part of the solution in making that more possible and equitable for all of us.

 What is your professional and educational background?

Outside of the Butte Food Co-op, I am the Conservation and Government Affairs Director for Montana Trout Unlimited. I work to advance responsible public policy and funding solutions to conserving, protecting, and restoring Montana's coldwater fisheries and habitats in local, state, and federal government. I earned my bachelor's degrees in Economics and Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Wyoming and my graduate degree in Natural Resource Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan. Over the last thirteen years I have worked in the non-profit sector to advance clean water, public access, and collaborative natural resource management in Montana.

 What do you like to do for fun?

In my time off, you can usually find me on the oars of my drift boat in any one of Montana's world class coldwater fisheries, although none more special than the Big Hole. While my two German Shorthairs make great fishing companions, they also love to chase upland birds around Southwest Montana. I also enjoy golf, skiing, Michigan football and hockey (Go BLUE), collecting western art, and volunteering in my community. I live with my partner James and friend Abigail in a beautiful 1800's Victorian home on the Westside of Butte!

Julie Jaksha

Location Committee Chair
Elected: January 2023 (Original Steering Committee)
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How long have you been involved in the Co-Op? 

Steve Thompson, Executive Director of NCAT, and I joined together in the summer of 2019 to host a community meeting after a local grocery store closed to gauge community interest for opening a food co-op. That meeting was a tremendous success and I have been involved in launching the Butte Food Co-Op ever since. I have served on the initial Steering Committee and two board terms since 2019.

Why do you want a Co-Op in Butte? Why is it important to you?

Local food co-ops help to create a sustainable economy by supporting organic and sustainable food production and other environmentally and socially responsible businesses both locally and regionally. I value that co-ops are community owned and democratically operated. My belief is that a co-op increases access to affordable fruit, vegetables, and meats while helping raise awareness of the benefits of a healthy diet. 

What is your professional and educational background?

I was born and raised in Butte Montana, and I have dedicated much of my career to fostering economic development and making Butte a stronger, more vibrant, community. I am extremely proud of the Butte community and am excited about the co-op’s future. I have over thirty-two years of experience with strategic planning, management, financing, and project execution. I have worked in both the public/private sectors and can help facilitate hard conversations and get the right people to the table when needed. I am a Montana Ambassador, a member of Leadership Montana, and serve on a variety of local and state Boards.

What do you do for fun?

My husband, Steve, and I have three amazing children, and a crazy, wild Springer Spaniel pup. When I am not working or volunteering on various boards, I love spending time with my family hiking, rafting, skiing, camping, boating, and fishing! I love taking photos, traveling, baking, and listening to True Crime podcasts.

Krissy Kraczkowsky

Board Secretary, Member-Ownership & Outreach Committee Chair
Elected: January 2023 (Original Steering Committee)
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How long have you been involved in the Co-Op?

I have been involved in the Butte Food Co-Op since the project’s beginning and served on the initial Steering Committee and two board terms. 

 Why do you want a Co-Op in Butte? Why is it important to you?

I am a strong believer that a food co-op can be a source of strength and empowerment for all communities… especially one like Butte that has a longstanding history of working cooperatively. To me, a food co-op provides significant opportunities for local and small-scale farmers and ranchers to grow their business, better access to the local food economy, improved circulation of our food dollars to the local economy, and development of an inclusive community and educational hub that advocates for healthy nutrition practices. 

 What is your professional and educational background?

Prior to moving to Butte, I was the Senior Director for Programs at the Ulman Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland. I received my B.A. in Public Health, my Masters in Public Health and Masters of Business Administration all from Johns Hopkins University. I have over eighteen years of combined experience in the consulting and non-profit sectors. 

 What do you like to do for fun?

In my free time, you can find me out and about with my three dogs, hiking, skiing, running, coaching, fly fishing (or attempting to!), riding, volunteering, listening to podcasts, and exploring all that Southwest Montana has to offer.

Heidi Noyes

Board Member, Location Committee
Elected: January 2024
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How long have you been involved in the Co-Op?

I became a member-owner of the Butte Food cooperative in 2020 while living in Bozeman. When I moved home to Butte in 2023, I jumped at the chance to run for the empty board member seat. My term started in January 2024.

Why do you want a Co-Op in Butte? Why is it important to you?

I have been a member-owner of the Bozeman Community Food Cooperative for 12 years. It’s a gathering place for meals, for meetings, for dates, and the best place in town to shop for quality local meats, cheeses, produce, condiments, you name it. I’ve also been a vendor at the BozoCoop for over 20 years and can attest to the economic impact the coop has on local producers. I am excited for my hometown to get a similar store.

What is your professional and educational background?

I received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cleveland State University. Since then, I have been an R&D Engineer, a winemaker in Napa, CA, and an organic Flathead cherry grower and value-added producer. Currently, the company I founded in 2012 distributes compostable restaurant supplies throughout the state of Montana from our warehouses in Bozeman and Butte.

What do you do for fun?

For fun I love to hike and bike with my husband, and my kids when they are home. I enjoy traveling, especially to see my kids! I’ve recently started playing pickleball and I’m so glad there is such a big community here in Butte! Any other free time is spent on projects on our new “old house”. I’m so happy to be home in Butte, America

Leo Prigge

Board Treasurer, Finance Committee Co-Chair
Elected: January 2023 (Original Steering Committee)
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How long have you been involved in the Co-Op?

I became involved in the Coop in the summer of 2019 and served on the initial steering committee and temporary board.

 Why do you want a Co-Op in Butte? Why is it important to you?

I am fascinated by the Coop business model.  I see a great value in a community-owned grocery store responsive to local needs, selling local products, and keep our dollars in Butte.  I was born and raised here and have always heard rumors of this “nice store” or that “big business” coming to town.  The Butte Food Coop is an opportunity for Butte to build our own nice store!

What is your professional and educational background?

I am a Certified Public Accountant by trade and in addition to the Coop board, I currently sit on the state Lottery commission, the Action, Inc. board, and the Montana Society of CPAs board. 

What do you do for fun?

For fun, I like to spend time with family and friends golfing, fishing, snowboarding, and enjoying life in Butte America.

Kelli Schermerhorn

Board Vice-President
Elected: January 2023
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How long have you been involved in the Co-Op?

I have been involved with the Butte Food Co-Op since the initial seed fund back in 2019. 

Why do you want a Co-Op in Butte? Why is it important to you?

We need healthy options, sourced from a local network, to support the sustainability of our community! 

What is your professional and educational background?

I coordinate power generation to meet load in an organized energy market (the southwest power pool) to meet the energy needs of NorthWestern Energy’s’ South Dakota customers.  My undergraduate degree is in Communication from the University of Colorado. I earned my law degree from the part-time program at the University of Denver in 2019.  I moved to Butte for a job with Northwestern in 2019. 

What do you do for fun?

I like to spend time outside in the woods with my husband and two border collies. My favorite trailheads are the ones no one visits. I garden, cook and bake, discover new music & try to make ceramics.

Debbie Smith

Board President, Member-Ownership & Outreach Committee, Location Committee
Elected: January 2023
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How long have you been involved in the Co-Op?

I attended the Butte Food Co-Op meetings and volunteered for the Farmer’s Market booth in both 2019 and 2022. I also donated money for the initial seed money and joined the Co-Op in 2021.

Why do you want a Co-Op in Butte? Why is it important to you?

I believe that the Butte Food Co-Op will provide, not only opportunity for local food growers to market their products, but also to help the Butte community to participate in long-term sustainability as well as to provide healthful local foods to the people. As a nearly 50-year advocate for organic, healthful fresh foods and less packaging by offering bulk items, I know that I will appreciate the Co-Op.

What is your professional and educational background?

We have been in Butte for 30 years. Before that, I lived in several places, including overseas and studied art and French at three Universities. While in Houston, I went back to school for geophysics and worked as a geophysical technician for Shell Exploration. We moved to Butte from Houston and I finished my degree at Montana Tech. I worked out-of-town for a few years and after returning, I received my masters degree.

After much job searching, started working with the Earthquake Office at Montana Tech, from which I retired in 2016.

What do you do for fun?

For fun and to keep busy, I make pottery to donate and sell at art walks and Christmas shows for which all proceeds are donated to the food bank. I also volunteer for good causes, hike, camp, ski and love to recreate with my dogs.

Board of Directors Elections

The next Board of Directors election will take place in October 2024. We will have two seats that will be open for election.

Board elections for the Butte Food Co-Op Board of Directors occur on an annual basis. The number of open seats varies by year. All member-owners in good standing (meaning dues paid and member-owner agreements signed) are eligible to run for the board.

We are NOT currently accepting applications for our Board of Directors.

Contact us for more information

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