Brandon Otway, Chair

Site Selection & Outreach Coordinator Hiring Teams

Brandon is a Grand Rapids import, originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. He has lived her for the past four years. Brandon is married with a young child and sees Free Range Food Co-op as another step to making Grand Rapids a place where people want to move to raise their families. He is the early childhood coordinator for the Hill City and Remer school districts and in his spare time enjoys growing and raising his own food on a very small scale and spending time outdoors with his family. He is passionate about having the choice to shop for local, healthy food and personal care products and sees FRFC as the means for this becoming a reality for the greater Grand Rapids area. He also sees the co-op as a way to add to the local economy through support of local growers and producers. Brandon looks forward to using his ownership in Free Range Food Co-op to be a part of the conversation and decision-making that will bring many more owners together to get this movement across the finish line.

Brandon's term expires October 2020


Casey Dabrowski, Director

Casey works as a District Forester for Itasca County with a degree in Forestry from the University of Minnesota. After living in Saint Paul for a few years, he was able to move to his dream house in the country near Warba with Shara, his wife of six years. Together, their hobbies revolve around a quest to live self-sufficiently on their property: cutting firewood, raising chickens, and of course, cooking and growing a variety of foods in their large garden. Casey is passionate about Free Range Food Co-op and its potential to help connect homestead farmers into a more cohesive and resilient community focused on local organic, sustainable food.

Casey's term expires Oct. 2022

Tom Connolly, Director

Tom is a lifelong Itasca County resident; he lives in Bovey and has two daughters. He sees value in the co-op as a great way to promote healthy eating, sustainability and community, and to connect local farmers with local consumers.

He is a Professional Engineer with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, and has been working in the industry for 18 years. He looks forward to applying the experience he has gained leading projects and working with diverse teams to help make the co-op a reality.

Tom's term expires Oct. 2022

David Setness, Director

Site Selection and Board Development Teams

David currently lives in Deer River after leaving the Twin Cities with his wife six years ago. He works at the Deer River High School as a Truancy Specialist. David brings with him experience working as a board member of a food co-op in Anoka and is excited to see the support for a food co-op in Grand Rapids. He loves having a hobby farm and raises goats, quail and chickens. He also grows microgreens and enjoys teaching community educaton classes on farm subjects. David loves the small town community feel and people's willingness to help out to improve the lives of those around them.

David's term expires October 2021.

Shara Dabrowski, Director

Shara is an avid lover of cooking and eating good food. When she isn’t working at her day job at Evans Insurance Agency, she can usually be found in the garden or canoeing on the Swan River with her husband Casey, at their farm near Warba. She is mother to several dogs, cats, and chickens, and hopes to soon add goats and cows to the list. In addition to gardening, she and Casey enjoy cooking from scratch whenever possible – including bread with freshly milled local flour! She has always looked forward to having a food co-op in Grand Rapids as an inclusive space where residents and visitors alike have access to fresh, healthy, local foods. Shara believes FRFC can also play an important role in our community by supporting local farmers and providing educational opportunities for community members.

Shara's term expires October 2022


Lois Bendix, Director

Outreach Coordinator Investment Team

Lois has been a Grand Rapids resident for 50 years, raising her two daughters here. She retired after 30 years with the Minnesota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, a program to assist people with disabilities to be employed. Lois is a University of Minnesota Master Gardener Emeritus. Her education in the chemicals used in food production started with that program and education on chemicals in household products when she joined a  health and wellness company selling safe products for home use. Her father worked for the USFS, so she was raised to care for the land. A fan of our Grand Rapids Farmers Market, she is convinced if we support our local farmers and have a year round outlet for their food, we can give our area better food choices. She likes their approach to improving the soil naturally, rather than using chemicals. Her parents were owners and shopped at the Food Co-op in Ely. She likes the idea of community building that a food co-op provides us.

Lois's term expires October 2021

Jessie Clemens

Treasurer

Jessie was born and raised in a rural area about 20 miles from Bigfork, MN. She was raised in a sustainable living environment with a variety of animals, and home grown and raised vegetables, meats and dairy products. Jessie holds Associates degrees in General Studies and Accounting from North Central Michigan College. She has worked in the accounting department for a local nonprofit for the last six years and finds the help they are able to extend to families in our community to be extremely rewarding. Jessie became an owner of FRFC because she believes that our community needs access to affordable, healthy, locally grown foods. She knows firsthand that many in our community are living at or below the poverty level and require state assistance just to put food on the table. She also looks forward to the day FRFC will have a space where community members can share their knowledge through classes like preparing healthy meals on a budget, baking bread, becoming more self-sustainable as a person, environmental stewardship, introducing different cuisines and along with it different cultures, and generall broadening our community's horizons.

Jessie's term expires Oct. 2020.

Tom Williams

Director

Board Development Team

Tom is a 1986 graduate of the College of St. Scholastic with a BA in Nursing, and a 1992 graduate of William Mitchell College of Law. His legal career focused on regulatory compliance with two state agencies and a major health plan company. He retired in 2015 and moved with his wife Sandy to Grand Rapids in 2017. Tom joined Free Range Food Co-op as its 354th owner in 2017. Tom and his wife are also owners of Mississippi Market in St. Paul, Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville, and whole Foods Co-op in Duluth.

Tom's term expires October 2020

Rayleen Worcester, Director

Rayleen moved to rural Bovey in 2014 from the Twin Cities metro area where she easily settled into the small community with her husband and children. Rayleen has been a successful, small business owner in Grand Rapids since 2016 and has over 20 years of experience in customer service, office management and administrative roles. She believes in giving back to the community and has volunteered for many organizations such as the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Balsam Fire Department and also served as a member of the board for youth soccer for several years. Rayleen enjoys gardening, hunting, ice fishing and hitting the trails in the Jeep or ATV. Her passion for people and the community inspired her to become an owner of the FRFC in 2017. She believes that offering clean, healthy choices to consumers, supporting local farmers and creating jobs within our community will ensure local growth and sustainability.

Rayleen's term expires October 2022.