The Board of Directors is elected by the GBCFC’s member-owners to provide general oversight and governance of the co-op. The board is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the co-op’s financial health and making sure it is operated in accordance with 7 Cooperative Principles and the GBCFC’s Purpose Statement & End Goals. The board also provides leadership and sets the overall direction of the co-op through member engagement, research, visioning, and setting policy. All member-owners of the GBCFC, excluding employees of the co-op, are eligible to serve on the Board of Directors. For information about how to apply for nomination to the board and run for election please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Monthly board meetings are the 3rd Monday of each month at 6:00pm. The first 10 minutes of each meeting is set aside for public comment.
GBCFC Policy Manual [coming soon]
Your GBCFC Board of Directors:
Earstin Whitten, Board President, 2017-2020
I was raised a sharecropper’s son in Arkansas in a family of 15 children. Most of our food supplies came from a very large garden we maintained. After finishing college at Marquette University in Milwaukee, I began moving around the country with the military and later Allstate, where I continued to garden in different environments.
My responsibilities at Allstate included expense management for a department of 1,500 employees, compliance, auditing and group facilitation.
Retiring from Allstate after 31 years, I came to Reno and began gardening in a much more challenging growing environment. I have lived in different parts of the city of Reno where the various micro-climates provide even more challenges. To improve my chances of gardening success, I enrolled in and finished the Master Gardner program through the University Of Nevada Cooperative Extension in 2012. In 2014, I was named one of the two Master Gardeners of the year.
Though I grow many different vegetables, my passion is growing and understanding how to successfully grow garlic here. I have been featured in the Reno Gazette Journal, Edible Reno Tahoe and I have spoken on the topic at Bartley Ranch, and the UNR Cooperative Extension.
I have volunteered the past three years at Great Basin Food Coop in the demonstration garden and currently volunteer at Sun Valley elementary school working with kids and teachers demonstrating how to grow vegetables and the value of healthier food choices. For the past two years, I have served on the Advisory Council for the Master Garden program at the UNR Cooperative Extension.
Erin Meyering, Vice President, 2017-2020
Erin Meyering is California-born and Reno-raised writer and designer. She’s been an editor for a local food magazine, contributor to local publications, and currently works in marketing at Carson Tahoe Health. Her knowledge of brand awareness, public relations, and all things digital make her a great addition to the co-op’s board of directors.
Her philosophy behind sitting on the board was to be closer to food, to help support positive change within the food system, and to devote time and expertise towards the development of sustainability in the Biggest Little City.
A believer in grace, grit, and grains, she is continually seeking to expand her horizons. Between yoga classes and making her own (veg) sushi bowls, you can find her walking her 75-lb lab/boxer mix, Biscotti and mini labradoodle, Isabelle.
Mark Estee, Director, 2017-2020
I have been and always will be a huge supporter of our Coop here in Reno. I won’t lie, some even call me a Coop/DROPP homer. I wear that designation proudly. I keep a busy schedule, but feel that being named to this board would be a welcome addition to what I do. I love to collaborate, I love local, delicious food, I love to work on business, and I would be proud to serve on this board.
I have served on a few boards before (all non profit) and all have enriched my life in many ways. Most recently I was on the Project Mana board from 2005 to 2011. I would welcome the opportunity to join this board!
Mark Estee is a community leader and nationally recognized chef who is dedicated to building a thriving restaurant culture in Reno and Lake Tahoe. Extending his footprint across northern Nevada and northern California, Estee owns and/or operates eight restaurants, where menu offerings encompass his philosophy of simple, seasonal, fresh and local. The atmospheres? Warm, lively and inviting. Just like him.
Estee’s reputation for supporting local farmers and food suppliers is ingrained into each restaurant concept and used as an example within the slow food movement. He is often heard asking, “Do you know where your food comes from?” He is a staple among the food community and his business practices are recognized as progressive, thoughtful and direct. Continually developing new dishes based on his “Whole Hog” philosophy, Estee builds full-flavored food using every portion of every ingredient.
From menu items to cooking practices, Estee believes that his responsibility as a chef is to use culinary creativity to innovate how food is prepared and served. As an entrepreneur, not only is he spreading a message of sustainability and local significance, but also a deep-rooted passion for farmers, ranchers, regional products, produce and food education.
Mark Estee’s entrepreneurial spirit is evident in everything he touches. From the way he interacts with patrons and staff to the incredible involvement he has among the community, Estee approaches each day with vibrant integrity. He won’t ask his staff to do something he wouldn’t; he is not afraid to shake things up if it can be done better.
The kitchen is a classroom where he goes to learn, teach and perfect his craft. His style is influenced by what he has seen and done; his drive to continually improve and expand is rooted by what he sees in others. Estee’s passion for food and people keeps pace with his love of Reno and Lake Tahoe. He continues to change and shape the evolving food culture and talks about his passion for the biggest little city on a national platform, every opportunity he is given. He is without a doubt, one of the region’s most prominent advocates.
Chani Knight, Director, 2018-2021
Jake O’Farrell, Director, 2018-2021
Jacob was born and raised in the farming community, from homesteads in North Carolina to high tech greenhouses in the Sierra Nevada desert. His father founded Hungry Mother Organics, the family’s organic farming operation, in 2006. Jacob worked there for years, cultivating a passion for growing food. He earned his bachelor’s degree from University of Nevada, Reno and later his Professional Maintenance Management and Boiler Operator Certifications through the Association for Facilities Engineering. He has been designing and constructing hydroponic, aquaponic and traditional greenhouse facilities for over 10 years, and he is passionate about empowering businesses and individuals alike with the ability to produce organic and sustainable products. Recent projects inlcude FSMIP program grant coordination and aquaponic system prototyping with Hungry Mother Organics, commercial facility design and construction management for Dayton Valley Aquaponics, and most recently, serving as VP of Operations for Bonanza Pharms, a certified organic indoor CBD cultivation and processing facility.
Dominic Silva-Martin, Director, 2018-2021
Dominic is a 12-year resident of Reno and currently works at a local marketing start-up company. He has successfully collaborated with other local businesses on events to create brand awareness and drive local support of small business. He is going to school to achieve a Bachelors Degree in Psychology with a minor in Marketing.
In his free time, Dominic teaches his own Irish Dance school, hikes, and explores Northern Nevada. His passion for the community and connecting community members has led him to run for the Board of Directors of the Great Basin Community Co-op.
It is with great passion and enthusiasm that I submit my application to serve on the Board of the Directors for the Great Basin Community Food Co-op. My interest in serving on the Board of Directors stems from discovering the dedication and passion of those working locally to provide the best quality food available, as well as those upholding the commitment to sustaining our local economy.
I have experience in bringing together partners and voices from various parts of the community to promote involvement and engagement through small business initiatives and events. Those that have worked with me over the years can attest to both my passion and commitment to whatever I do.
Through my experience in this community, I have gained insight and a deep understanding of the many challenges and opportunities that the Co-op is faced with. Moreover, I believe that in order for the Co-op to continue to grow and thrive, they must publicly educate and engage members of our community to the goals and objectives of our organization.
David Funk, Director, 2017-2020
I am a Nevada native, born and raised in Reno. Several of the buildings around the Co-op were the homes of my relatives. A couple of the law offices on Arlington and Court Street were where my aunts lived as well as the building that now houses the Reno Fly Shop. My wife and I live in the Old Southwest in the house that my Grandma and Grandpa designed and lived in. Spending my entire life here, I have seen many changes in “The Biggest Little City”. I feel there are so many wonderful qualities of our town. We have quick access to the mountains, lakes and wilderness areas and there are many great events centered around the arts. I am very excited about our food scene, with an incredible energy being focused on sustainability and sourcing local. Many restaurant owners are supporting, promoting and even carrying each others’ products.
Thirty years ago I decided to become vegetarian and later took on a solely plant based diet. With this came a passion about growing much of our own food as well as helping others do the same. Each year I take part in the Co-op Seedling Sale, growing for the community, over 1000 plants to place in their own gardens. I am currently in the process of developing a business to grow sustainable, local food year around.
This brings us to the Co-op. They are all about local and sustainable. They are about community. They are like family. It is their passion and that is why I love the Co-op. I am so excited to be a part of that and I hope to be able to help make this amazing, community-owned grocery store even better.