Annaliesa McCartney, Vice Chair

Outreach Coordinator Investment Campaign Team

Annaliesa lives in Blackberry, and she is married to Nick. She has three children and one grandchild. She works for the Fairview Range Medical Center, Hibbing as a registered nurse on the Women's Health & Birth Center, Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital as a registered nurse and Childbirth Educator for the Women's Health and Birth Center. She also works for the Hibbing Community College as an Adjunct Faculty membor for the nursing program. Annaliesa attended Itasca and Hibbing Community Colleges to attain her Associates Degree in Nursing, and Bemidji State University to attain her BS in Nursing. She is currently attending the U of MN, Moorhead for her Master's in Nursing Education. Annaliesa has volunteered for FRFC for three years to  increase access to local foods and goods for the community we live in. Sense of community is important to Annaliesa and she believes that cooperatives provide that need on many levels. Annaliesa enjoys talking to community members about the importance of cooperatively building FRFC. After her term ends in October, Annaliesa will remain with FRFC as a volunteer as others come on to serve on the board.

Annaliesa's term expires Oct. 2019

Credit goes to Jenna Marek with JMT Photography for the image above.

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

Sarah Verke,Director

Outreach Coordinator Investment Team, Outreach Coordinator Hiring Team, Brochure Project Team

Sarah lives in Grand Rapids withher husband and two children. She holds degrees in Paralegal Studies and Interactive Graphic and Web Design, and is currently attending The College of St. Scholastica to complete her BA in Organizational Development with an emphasis in Business Management. Sarah is currently working as an Americorp VISTA with the U of MN Extension, Regional Sustainable Development Partnership on a year service project focusing on building local food systems capacity in the NE Region of MN. Sarah believes that cooperatives have a great potential to improve the quality of life in the communities where they exist. Specifically important to Sarah is building a stronger local food system, increasing access to organic and local food foods, strengthening the local culture of environmental stewardship, and the cooperative principles and values that lay a strong foundation for how cooperatives operate.

Sarah's term expires Oct. 2019

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.

Carrie Barsness

Records Officer

Outreach Coordinator Investment Team

Carrie is a life-long resident of the Grand Rapids area and currently resides in Cohasset with her husband and two children. She is employed at State Farm, Terry LaValle Agency. Carrie enjoys running, reading, cooking, and spending time with friends and family. She is proud and excited to be a part of the efforts to bring a food co-op 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's term expires October 2019

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


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


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