Michael Kalagher - General Manager
Michael was one of the first people to step forward in late 2009, join the co-op steering committee, and begin exploring what it would take to transition the Creamery to cooperative ownership. He continued to serve on the board until late 2013 when he stepped off the board to become interim GM for the Co-op. Michael agreed in early 2014 to stay on indefinitely in the GM position.
Michael and his partner Anna Hanchett operate Manda Farm in Plainfield (Although Anna is now doing most of the farming) where they raise rare and endangered species of pigs, turkeys, and cattle as well as dairy goats and heritage vegetables in season. Prior to moving to the Hilltowns in 2005 Michael spent over 30 years working in the technology industry where he held many different management positions with responsibilities for Customer Service, Marketing, Warehousing and Distribution among others.
Michael regards his position to be “An awesome responsibility to the Creamery staff, our co-op member-owners, and the community to ensure the Creamery remains a successful and sustainable asset for all of us in this community”.
Peg Cowen - Cummington
I have lived in Cummington for 30 years and witnessed the transformation of The Old Creamery from a simple country convenience store to a vibrant and thriving cooperative that feeds, employs and serves as a meeting place for so many of us in this region. Thanks to the vision, dedication, hard work, and generosity of so many people, The Old Creamery's future looks bright.
For the past 18 months, I have been a member of The Creamery's Outreach Committee; I served on the finance committee at the West Cummington Congregational church for many years, and on the board of directors of the Worthington Health Center for three years; My husband, John Bye, and I founded and ran Berkshire County's 3rd CSA from 1996 - 2008. I am a clinical social worker, with a private practice in Northampton and Springfield.
I'm excited to see the directions we, the Member-Owners, will decide to grow The Co-op. How will we evolve as an employer? How will the Creamery grow in its role as a key institution in the local community? How will The Co-op participate in critical debates and actions regarding larger, global issues? The Co-op Member-Owners have the opportunity to embrace these challenges and I am honored to serve on the board as we turn toward these exciting questions and possibilities.
Peter Feitner - Cummington - Board President
Peter has been a resident of Cummington since 1989. Previously of Ithaca, NY, he has worked in a wide array of settings ranging from athletic coach for a collegiate sports team, travel planner and tour leader, arts administrator, potter and small business owner, artist, builder, and on it goes. He has a degree in Business Administration and Management from Ithaca College and served for six years as a Trustee for the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School. He lives about one mile from The Creamery which has been an almost daily part of his life for the entirety of his residency. He is married to local artist and potter Christy Knox and they have two daughters, Karina and Lilah. He is looking forward to the excitement and challenges of serving on the Board of Directors for the Cooperative and working to ensure the continuing stable and vital presence of the Old Creamery as an iconic part of this wonderful community.
Wil Hastings - Cummington/Northampton - Treasurer
I used to be a lawyer. I quit 25 years ago and moved to Worthington as a “poet-farmer”. I now live half the year in Cummington and half in Northampton. Poetry stuck to me longer than farming. But I dived into land conservation and just recently stepped down as a leader of the Hilltown Land Trust. I helped rebuild the West Cummington Congregational Church after its 2010 fire. And now I’m the newest Old Creamery director. Simply put, I see myself as one of the many Old Creamery Owner-Members who together are responsible for its continued growth as the soul & life-blood of this community. We need to continue to bring more people to share the Creamery’s large table. We need to act in ways that will assure a great 10th anniversary celebration in 2022.
Lori Holmes - Cummington
I moved to Cummington in 2006, having fallen in love with a piece of floodplain land along the banks of the Westfield River. I have made use of the land to run Goat Nook Farm, a poultry farm that specializes in free range eggs with a focus on animal welfare. I also keep dairy goats, which are used to supplement chicken feed and make organic goat milk soaps.
My interest is organic land maintenance and permaculture. I hope to develop farm production to include edibles from these systems.
I am also the kitchen manager for a restaurant in Boston where I have worked since 1990, having started as a line cook. I am responsible for the fiscal success of the restaurant, including controlling food costs, labor, purchasing and food quality.
I am new to any type of board service, but I hope my skills will be useful to the Cummington community. I believe that local is the way of the future, as well as a precious part of our heritage.
Jonathan Rehmus - Colrain / Cummington
Jon’s experience with food cooperatives began as a student in the 1970s when he belonged to the Yellow Sun Food Co-op in Amherst. He has supported the cooperative movement for many years and since 1994 been a member of the Franklin Community Co-op. He believes the Old Creamery is the crossroads for the hill towns along Routes 9 and 112 and an essential part of keeping Cummington and surrounding towns self-sustaining, resilient, and concerned for the common good. He is a member of the Creamery’s Outreach Committee.
Jon currently serves as minister to the Village Church in Cummington and loves the mix of people that make up the hill towns. Along with working in churches the past 25 years, he is also a licensed teacher focused on improving math learning and teaching. He lives and gardens with his family on the Valley Community Land Trust in Colrain.
Kim Tobin - Windsor
I have worked at Westfield State University in both faculty and administrative roles since 1998. I began coming to the Hilltowns over 15 years ago with the man who would become my husband. This is a place where I have found peace and solace, becoming a full-time resident of Windsor in 2013 when my daughter went to college. Over the past 15 years, the Creamery has made a difference to me in varying ways as my relation to the community changed – from picking up supplies for a dry camping weekend; to picking up treats before returning to “real life” for the week; to grab and go coffee, breakfast, and lunch on the days I can’t get my act together; to quick stops because I don’t want to drive “all the way” to town. I am passionate about food and sustainability and I am thrilled to give back to the community by serving on the Board.
Roberta Wooldridge - Plainfield
My husband Jamie and I run a local auto repair shop and are members of the Plainfield fire department. We moved to Plainfield 10 years ago with our four children now ages 10 to 18. As service people in a small town we have a business relationship with many people. This gives me a lot of insight into the kinds of problems that some people are facing financially and hopefully some useful ideas that can help the co-op grow within this small rural community. I know many families that shop elsewhere because of their bottom line and I would like to help change that.
Like many families we are on a tight budget, but we make it a priority to do most of our weekly grocery shopping at the Creamery. In addition to the healthy local foods we can buy we firmly believe in local shopping and the interdependence of all local businesses. We believe that you cannot speak about how much something costs unless you are factoring in the big picture such as miles traveled, time spent, jobs lost or gained, and overall global and community harm or benefit done. A big purchase at a big chain that saves me money, but costs us so many other things becomes the real cost of something. Keeping our money circulating in our communities benifits everyone in the long run.
Your Board Welcomes Your Help and Ideas
The Co-op Board of Directors includes longtime Hilltown residents as well as relative newcomers. We are farmers, lawyers, parents, community leaders, business owners, social-change activists, artists, “foodies,” public interest advocates, and community builders.
We are volunteering our time, expertise, and creativity because we support the Old Creamery and we believe that people can accomplish more by working together than they can on their own.
The board meets on the second Tuesday of the month in the Sustainability Library up behind the store. We welcome participation of Member-Owners in these meetings. We also welcome Member-Owner participation in our sub-committee work and/or as a volunteer for projects at the Co-op.
If you have time or talents that you would like to contribute to our cooperative journey send a message to the general manager firstname.lastname@example.org, let any board member know, or drop us a line at email@example.com
Old Creamery Co-Op Bylaws
Download the current version of the Old Creamery Co-op Bylaws here.