Board Members & Meeting Minutes



Chris Rand

Chris Rand is a business consultant with 20 years of experience in the property management, entertainment, and technology industries. After growing up in Connecticut with parents who taught gardening and how to tend the land, he spent 13 years in California and moved back east to State College in 2002.

Chris's family have laying hens and enjoy vegetable gardening. Chris is an avid canner and bartering partner, and loves to discover new foods & share food experiences with others. The Rand family became founding members due to their desire to eat great, healthy food while supporting the local food movement and economy.

Chris aspires to help Friends & Farmers achieve remarkable progress in 2018 as we explore the viability of a Food Hub, work to improve the Online Market, and reach new audiences who want to participate in eating great food grown by people we know, while helping the Centre Region’s economy. New vendors are joining the market, and as we explore new relationships and business opportunities, we hope you share our excitement for Friends & Farmers’ potential. Please contact us if you are interested in getting more involved.



Michael Pipe
Vice President

Michael Pipe was born and raised in southeastern Pennsylvania. In 2004, he moved to Centre County to attend Penn State, where he graduated in 2009 with a degree in political science. During his time at Penn State and after graduation, Pipe worked as an assistant manager at a restaurant in downtown State College.

In 2011, Pipe was elected Centre County Commissioner. He is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Centre County. He and his wife, Ashley, live in Millheim and believe in supporting local farmers and producers. “When you’re buying your food from your neighbor and your small business, it’s makes for such a better community.”

As the liaison to the Agricultural Land Preservation Board in Centre County, Pipe has worked with family farms in Centre County, developing a fond appreciation for their efforts to preserve their farms for future generations. He hopes to help those farmers connect with the co-op. He also serves on the Cooperative Extension Board, helping to get the message out to farmers and community members about the resources and research developed by Penn State. Pipe’s experience working with farms has illustrated the far-reaching potential of the local food movement. “In general our society is getting farther from understanding where our food comes from,” he says. “But Centre County is really poised to have that conversation.”

His desire to join the board is fueled both by that awareness, and a desire to take a more active role in the movement’s goals. “This co-op can improve the vibrancy and attractiveness of our community, as well as our ability to grow it,” Pipe says. “Also from a small-business side of things, it will help a number of different pockets of our community from our growers and producers to our restaurants and consumers. It’ll have a ripple effect that I’d like to be a part of and help bring about.”

My passion for food in all its forms is boundless. I want to make sure my son and daughter grow up in a world where strawberries actually taste like strawberries and heirloom tomatoes burst with flavor. I acquire most of our household's food from local farms, and frequent restaurants that source locally.  If a product (food or otherwise) cannot be acquired at a local, small business, I probably don't want it.


Tim Flanagan

I have over 15 years of experience in finance, entrepreneurship, and socially responsible investing. As Executive Director of the Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF), I brought socially responsible investment dollars into the most underserved communities in the Washington, DC area. Under my leadership, Wacif (wake-if) provided tens of millions of dollars to dozens of small businesses and nonprofits, who in turn created hundreds of jobs. When I have been asked to serve on boards, I try to bring a particular focus to financial stewardship and efficiency.

My bachelors degree is from Saint Joseph's University in Management, while my Masters in Accountancy is from The George Washington University. I live in State College with my beautiful wife Mary, precocious daughter Eleanor, and jubilant son Patrick.



Emily Newman

Emily Newman was born in the south central Pennsylvania. In 2012, she moved to State College to pursue a degree in Agricultural Sciences from Penn State University. During her time at Penn State, she was active in the local food community by helping organize the Centre County Food Summit, volunteering her time with a farm that grows food for Centre County’s food banks and working as the Sustainability Coordinator for PSU Food Services.

In January of 2016, she was hired by Pennsylvania Certified Organic in Springs Mills as a Certification Specialist and spends much of her 40 hours a week in the fields and facilities of organic producers and processors in Pennsylvania and beyond. She feels as though her work with PCO is continuing to perpetuate the good food movement.

With all of these experiences, Emily has seen first hand the hard work, dedication and passion that it takes to be a small, sustainable farmer in 2017. Friends and Farmers Cooperative is one way that the State College community can support our producers, who are also our friends and neighbors.
Emily is looking forward to working with the Friends and Farmers as board member by hearing the thoughts of the members and distilling that information to relay to the board.



Jeremy Bean 

I believe that climate change and the sustainability of our species is the challenge of our time. Food is something we all need and today's agribusiness model has proven that it is not a sustainable model. I believe local coops like Friends and Farmers are going to be the answer to a brave new future. We should be setting an example to the rest of the world here in our community.

I have many years of experience working with people in a variety of avenues. In particular my background in facilitation, strategic planning, and my current position as an associate director at the Sustainability Institute at Penn State would be great assets to the Coop.

I think the biggest challenges facing F&F is to convince the public of the ongoing issues with food and sustainability and help them change to a new model of doing and thinking. This includes both the consumer and the farmers. It will be a tough uphill battle on both ends as we try to live in an economic system that is designed to work against this approach.

I believe that good people together that are empowered to make decisions for themselves can be a very powerful thing. I like that people feel they have a say in what goes on and that makes all the difference.

I have served on the PA Recreation and Parks board as a community member. I did not chair or sit on any committees at that time.



Roy Sletson

I have been a supporter of the cooperative movement since serving on the Board of Our Store Food Co-op (State College) during the 1980's. I would like to see a retail store food co-op succeed here. I have been a manager of a retail food cooperative (Connecticut) and thus have insight that I feel would be helpful as we progress. With further experience in running a business (Bullwinkle's Bakery) and as a farmer selling at farmers markets and to restaurants, I can offer a unique perspective that would be beneficial. As a developmental coordinator for Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative (TOG) I have experience creating win/win relationships with growers, suppliers, and retailers. The challenges that face us are daunting, yet with an engaged membership and a focused Board of Directors, much can be accomplished. One specific issue is how to grow the membership so that it is feasible to open a brick and mortar storefront. Adequately capitalizing the cooperative and building a business plan that will define our aspirations are two other difficult undertakings. Honestly, there are no quick and easy ways to address these issues, and to pretend that I could address and express my 'solutions' in the space provided here in this forum would be disingenuous. Suffice it to say I need to learn more about where Friends and Farmers is now, understand the strengths of the board members and determine how I can compliment their attributes. An engaged membership is PARAMOUNT to our success. This is the key.

Friends & Farmers Cooperative always has a need for dedicated board members and volunteers. If you are considering joining the board, you can read more about it here.


Staff Members


Anne Williams
Online Market Supervisor

Anne Williams was born and raised in Central P.A. on a farm; not her family's farm, but a shared use of space by neighboring families.

While she did not have the experience of farming, she feels these roots have given her insight into the hard work and cooperation it takes to work the land. She developed a great appreciation for the beauty around her, the fruits of her parents simple gardens, and the taste of real food.

After graduating from Penn State in 2011 with a degree in Communications, Anne has worked to develop her professional skills in a number of settings from the food/restaurant industry, to retail markets, to branding a yoga event. She managed a local running & fitness store, has planned multiple community events, is a certified Yoga Instructor and has taught for the past 4 years at various locations until landing currently at a new local studio, Yoga Lab.

If there’s one common thread in her work, it’s community.

After residing in State College for 8 years, she has felt and seen the importance of contributing to a place you live, work, eat, and play in. Working with people for a larger purpose toward a common goal is the appeal Anne finds in much of her work, especially now, with Friends & Farmers Co-op.

She hopes to continue to bring more local farms & vendors on board to the Online Market along with a growing customer base. She also aims to further smooth out day to day operations from farmer drop off to customer pick up. Anne is excited to have the opportunity to support the local food scene in Centre County.



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