In 2005, at the age of 23, I helped to start the Great Basin Community Food Cooperative. We had our start with $814 and a buyers club in the kitchen where my sister and I lived at the time. Over the past 14 years, we have grown the organization to nearly $5 million in annual sales and a full grocery storefront close to Downtown Reno with a cafe, bakery, juice bar and prepared foods kitchen. In 2009 my sister Nicole and I started DROPP (Distributors of Organic Produce and Products), this is Nevada’s only currently existing food hub. We pay our local farmers 70 cents on the dollar, compared to the USDA published national average of $.16 cents on the dollar We employ over 40 individuals and we were the first co-op in the nation to voluntarily move to $15/hour as our base wage in January of 2018. In the beginning, we worked with 3 farmers in Northern Nevada and now we buy from over 120 local farmers, ranchers and artisans from within our state. This has led to a significant economic impact in both the rural and urban farming communities.
I have served on several action committees, boards, and working groups to help with the development of local food systems in Nevada. Currently, I am a member of UNR’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources (CABNR) Advisory Board. I am also the Designated Representative for the National Cooperative Grocers group. I am seated on the Western Steering Committee and the national committee to reduce single-use plastics.