Free Range Food Co-op

Sarah Verke, Chair

Sarah lives in Grand Rapids in Wabana Township, and she is married with two children. She holds degrees in Paralegal Studies, and Interactive Graphic and Web Design. She has worked for the State of Minnesota for 15 years, with the last 8 at the DNR. Sarah enjoys gardening, cooking, reading, exercising, traveling, spending time with her family, and being outside as much as possible in the spring and summer months. Sarah joined the co-op effort because she believes that co-ops have a great potential to improve the quality of life in the communities they serve. Specifically important to Sarah is building a stronger local food system, addressing access to organic and whole foods, and raising the bar on environmental sustainability. Sarah also appreciates the cooperative principles and values that help to lay a strong foundation for how cooperatives operate. Sarah serves as the board Chair, she is the marketing team coordinator, she is on the outreach team, as well as working on special projects.

Term expires October 2019

Sarah can be contacted at

Becky Semmler

Becky owns a farm in Jacobson with her husband where they raise grass fed and finished Scottish Highland Cattle, Red Wattle Swine, and Icelandic/cross sheep, along with other animals you might think of “down on the farm”. She is a retired boiler operator, and left that profession to raise her 5 children and animals in a healthy and non-invasive way, and to live a life closer to what nature intended. Becky believes in good food, good surroundings and herbs and oils from nature herself in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Becky serves on the board of the White Oak Society, she makes soap using the fats from her animals, and she also has a spinning wheel that she would love to use more regularly. She chooses what she gets involved with out of a desire to make things better, and to give another viewpoint for others to think about. She believes that none of us as humans is exactly like anyone else, but we can enjoy the differences and respect others ideas without giving up our own identity. Becky would like to see a food co-op that will help provide options for families to feed their members a better and closer to local diet which will help sustain the small farmer. She believes that knowing your farmers is a smart and community building reality. Becky hopes that her involvement with the co-op will ensure a hands-on farmer attitude and keep the dream of providing for families locally a real possibility.

Term expires on October 2020

Becky can be contacted at

Carrie Barsness, Vice Chair

Carrie is a life-long resident of the Grand Rapids area and currently resides in Cohasset. She is currently employed at Grand Rapids State Bank as an Account Services Representative. Carrie enjoys running, reading, cooking and spending time with friends and family in her spare time. She is proud and excited to be a part of the efforts of bringing a food co-op grocery store into the Grand Rapids area. What attracted her to the project is the sense of community this will bring. That is truly what a cooperative stands for; a group of people working together to reach a common goal or effort. Carrie serves on the board as the Vice Chair, and she volunteers her time on the outreach team, and working on special projects.

Term expires October 2019

Carrie can be contacted at

Sam Friesen

Sam has been volunteering with the co-op for the past several months in a number of different areas.  He owns a building contracting company in Grand Rapids, and hopes that his technical and process expertise will help in the facilities planning and development stage of the project. Sam enjoys the outdoors, building and wood crafts, art and design. He is passionate about environmental sustainability and social welfare, and believes in local, sustainable and healthy living.

Term expires on October 2020

Sam can be contacted at

Corinn Tiwari, Records Officer

Corinn has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, and is also a Board Certified Emergency Room Nurse who has spent the greater part of the last decade researching chemical exposure inour environment, and food sources. She puts a strong emphasis in education of such topics, and enjoys helping others achieve a chemical free diet, and lifestyle. She also enjoys eating, and preparing ethnic cuisine, reading, oil painting, spending time with her husband and children, hiking, and camping. Corinn came onto the co-op team in January 2016 and found her niche in organizing right off the bat. Her love for research and learning spills over into every area of her life including a passion to share with others the things she has discovered. Her favorite thing to talk about, as of late is the co-op. Corinn serves on the board as Treasurer and Records officer, she is on the outreach team, and she volunteers on special projects.

Term expires on October 2019

Corinn can be contacted at

Megan Brekke

Megan is married with three children and lives in Trout Lake Township.  She and her family tend gardens, fruit trees and egg-laying chickens. She has been a registered dietician for 13 years, and her husband owns a small lawn-care company. Food and small business are both areas of interest for Megan. She believes that if we want a strong livable community, we need to support it with our purchasing.  She feels the Grand Rapids area is able to produce more of its own food and products, and that a food co-op would open the doors for more growers and producers. Megan believes that supporting responsible consumerism is important, and in a global economy, the knowledge of how something was made has become far too removed.  She feels that the more ways we can encourage the simplicity of clean, local production and purchasing, the better off our community will be.

Term expires on October 2020

Megan can be contacted at