Colette DePhelps, President
My passion for local food and agriculture began at age 21 in a dugout canoe in the upper Amazon rainforest. Our hosts, the Cofan people, were in the deepest sense sustainable agriculture practitioners and locavores (long before that word was coined). In sharing their homes, food and way of life, I came to understand the beautiful balance that exists in some cultures; sustainability as a way of life, not an adjective or even a goal. Upon returning to the United States, I engaged in a self-defined major at Western Washington University looking at sustainable agriculture and indigenous peoples. That is also when I discovered and joined the food co-op in Bellingham, WA.
A couple of years later, I moved to Pullman and enrolled in a Masters program at Washington State University, hoping to learn more about the philosophy that underpins conventional agriculture. It was then, in 1991, that I joined the Moscow Food Co-op. Upon graduation from WSU, I worked for several years for the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, then as the coordinator of the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute’s community food systems program. I left PCEI in 1997 to co-found Rural Roots, Inc. a Moscow-based sustainable food and agriculture non-profit organization.
These past 20 years (how time flies), I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with extraordinary farmers, ranchers and other ag professional dedicated to creating a more just, sustainable and resilient regional food system. During that time, I have continued to grow in appreciation of the Moscow Food Co-op and its central role in our Palouse community. For my two children and I (Forest age 12 and Raven age 6) the Co-op is an integral part of our lives – here we find sustenance in great food and a strong caring community. I am honored to be serving on the Moscow Food Co-op’s Board of Directors. Thank you.
Tammy Parker, Vice President+Secretary
Born and mostly raised in rural San Diego county, I’ve since lived all over the country and learned to appreciate the joys of different regions. The Palouse has won my heart and wowed me with an amazing food culture that enticed me to study it. I’m working on a doctorate degree studying how to increase resilience in community food systems, so if the trucks stop running (or whatever!) we have a plan in place to continue eating well. I love the co-op because it serves as the heart of our local food scene and has introduced me to so many like-minded foodie friends. I’m happy to serve on the BOD and contribute to keeping our food system strong.
Idgi Potter, Treasurer
I was born and raised on the Palouse, and the Moscow Food Co-op has been a part of my life since before I can remember. Several years in Western Oregon taught me that there’s no place like home, and so in 2004 I returned to Moscow and began working in the Co-op bakery. In 2008 I graduated from the U of I with a degree in Range Management, but decided to keep baking after meeting my husband, Geoff. Today, I split my time between taking care of him and our daughter Sage, working at Panhandle Artisan Bread Co., and raising a handful of ducks, chickens, and gardens at our home in Moscow.
We (spouse Gina, daughter Willow and I) moved to Moscow in 1984. Co-op General Manager David Cook suggested that I start a newsletter for the Co-op, so that began my ongoing volunteer position and a wonderful opportunity to document, applaud, and shape the Co-op’s growth.
The Co-op grew slowly and organically during that time, moving to ever-larger storefronts and broadening the product lines and appealing to more of the community. Now, we can all take pride in the Co-op as the anchor store (the largest retailer) in downtown Moscow, an important community meeting place, a valued source of progressive ideas, and a great employer.
After 26 years as editor, in December of 2011, I resigned in protest when General Manager Seth Marcantonio demanded that I censor 5 letters from Co-op members. I then ran for election to the Co-op Board and was elected in March of 2012.
Kurt (Sam) Obermayr
Raised in South Idaho, the Palouse has been Kurt Obermayr’s home-base since 1980 when he came here, as many have, to attend the University of Idaho, and he stayed to raise his family in the Moscow community. He studied history and ceramic art at U of I. In 1988 he married Maree McHugh. Together they bought property on the edge of town and remodeled an old farm house. They moved to Arizona for six years when his wife took a position with the Indian Health Service. Kurt and Maree came back home to the Palouse in 2007 and are involved socially and politically in the Moscow community.
Kurt is a creative man, using his hands and applying his encyclopedic knowledge of anything he has ever read. He finds few problems unsolvable and can fix just about anything: cars, machines, houses, plumbing, and electrical and social systems. A potter and carpenter by trade, Kurt has earned a living doing what he knows he can do well. He has managed his own renovation-remodel and historical reconstruction business for 20 years. When he lived on the Navajo Nation he became involved in the local Habitat for Humanity and made many friends, not only because he had the right tools, but because of his sense of humor, willingness to learn how to build a Navajo hogan, his love of fry bread, and deep respect for the traditions of the Dine’.
Kurt has always had a passion for history, art, social justice, remodeling old buildings, rafting wild rivers, and hiking in wide open, beautiful places. He can analyze complex political situations, mix cement, pound nails, find his way through the woods, blend into a desert landscape in a heartbeat, and be comfortable and contribute at board meetings. Kurt has served on the board of the Renaissance Fair and on the Moscow Planning and Zoning committee, and is Precinct Committee Chair for Precinct 4. Adhering to the principles of “common sense,” building sustainable structures, both physical and within community alliances, is Kurt’s strength and commitment.
Poetry, art, music, political activism, wilderness and my wife, Kathleen, are my passions. Love for our community, concern for others, a belief in the effectiveness of collective action and an appreciation of good food are among the reasons why I support our Co-op. We are stronger working together!