Our Co-op

Board of Directors

The co-op’s board of directors is excited to hear from you. They are available to answer questions, give updates on the progress of the People's Food Co-op, and provide more information. Feel free to send the board of directors a message using the form at the bottom of this page.


Upcoming board of directors’ meetings

October 25, 4:30: Rochester

November 27, 4:30: La Crosse (Powell Place)

December 27, 4:30: Rochester

January 24, 4:30: La Crosse (Powell Place)


Heidi Blanke


La Crosse, Writer
Five years on board

I have both board and nonprofit experience, having served, most recently, on the Coulee Region Humane Society Board of Directors and as WAFER Food Pantry’s Executive Director. My strongest skills and abilities are a cooperative leadership approach, writing and communication, a capacity to think before reacting, empathetic listening, and the ability to bring humor into many situations.

Tessa Leung

Rochester, Restaurateur
Five years on board

I love the that we are able to showcase and support local and seasonal food in such a direct manner. I am the owner of Sontes in Rochester, a farm-to-table restaurant focusing on seasonal, locally grown food. We have a network of more than 40 local producers who supply us with everything from vegetables to meats to cheese, and many of these foods can be found at the coop too! I am a Rochester native and I love being involved in the community and showing off the diversity of products produced right here in Southeast Minnesota.

Laurie Logan

La Crosse, Family Physician
New board member


Monica Lunde

La Crosse, Accountant
Four years on board

I am a LaCrosse native and an active member of the community. I have over 18 years of experience in retail accounting and will use this knowledge to further the growth of the co-op community. I am an advocate for fresh, local, and organically grown food. Our co-op provides a great opportunity for healthy choices while supporting many local suppliers. Cooperation between our two communities will strengthen the positive impact we can make in each of our local economies.

Verna Simon

Verna Simon, Biologist, Genomics Researcher
Three years on board

I’ve been an active member and shopper of food co-operatives since just after graduate school and I’ve always been interested in good food. As a vegetarian, I try to make good tasting, healthy food a big part of my regular diet. I enjoy cooking and entertaining, especially when I can showcase healthy food in the process. I generally keep myself busy by serving on my housing board, now serving on the Co-op board, sports, classic car shows, reading, listening to music and dancing (Middle Eastern dance and recently, Mohiniyattam). Professionally, I’m trained as a biologist and I work at the Mayo Clinic where I do genomics research.

Paul Sims


Rochester, Architect
Three years on board

My original membership at People's Food Coop started in 2003 at the La Crosse store and am very happy to continue my membership in Rochester. I strongly believe in supporting local vendors and in the importance of high quality foods as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Wale Elegbede

Rochester, Senior Project Manager
One year on board

Lisa Wiste

La Crosse
Two years on joint board


Andrea Niesen

Rochester, Attorney
New board member