Joanna M. Marr Baker

Three Year Term
Expires in 2020
Contact Jo at jowwgroco@gmail.com

Employment: Currently I am a stay-at-home parent to my four children. My youngest child has special needs so a good portion of my day is dedicated to performing physical, occupational, and speech therapy tasks with her. My previous employment includes a stint as a membership manager at an area credit union and chamber of commerce. My husband and I were also small business owners in Whitewater for almost a decade.

Volunteer: Community is important to me. I have committed time to projects that include installation of a school garden, ecosystem restoration at area parks and trails, and most notably working to see the Whitewater Grocery Co come to life as a board member and volunteer. I am also a member of the League of Women Voters, involved with Whitewater Unites Lives, a Pay It Forward group, a graduate of Project LEAD, and a youth soccer coach.

Experience, education, and skills that contribute to effectiveness as a board member? I recently earned my certification as a Wisconsin Master Naturalist, and graduated in December of 2016 with a degree in Sustainable Management from University of Wisconsin – River Falls. My capstone project was a full business plan for the Whitewater Grocery Co where I learned a great deal about food co-op operations, business practices, and marketing. I grew up in neighboring Fort Atkinson and am very connected in both that city and Whitewater.

Past experiences have you had with food co-ops? I have been involved with co-ops my entire life. My grandparents were dairy farmers in the western part of Wisconsin and it seemed that hardly anything was done without some sort of co-op involved in the process. Walking into co-ops generally makes a person feel like they are an important part of a community system with local control. I am beyond excited to get this off the ground in Whitewater!

Favorite Food: Jambalaya with creole sauce (notably from the Cafe Carpe in Fort Atkinson, but I’ve nearly perfected my own at home).

Three Favorite Songs: This is kind of the hardest question anyone ever asks; here goes: Concierto de Aranjuez: Adagio by Miles Davis, Right on for the Darkness by Curtis Mayfield, and I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles by various artists.

Inspirational Co-Op: Harmony Natural Foods in Bemidji, Minnesota. This co-op has demographics similar to ours, and it is thriving. I have not had the chance to visit the actual co-op - yet - but I spent a lot of time studying their business and interviewing their general manager. This is their 40th year in business and certainly a role model for us to look to as we construct our store.