Friends & Farmers Makes Its First Hires!

When the community builds something that doesn’t currently exist, milestones are especially important. The co-op’s latest milestone is all about building the talent to make this vision a reality.

Friends & Farmers recently offered part-time positions to two women who were already fulfilling many of these tasks as volunteers. As the demands of this cooperative increase, the Board of Directors believed it was important to make these roles official, creating a level of accountability inherent in a paid position.

We are pleased to announce Stacey Budd as Outreach Coordinator and Melanie Rosenberger as the new Online Market Manager. Read about these women below:


Stacey Budd is a  recent transplant to the State College area. A Midwestern girl at heart, she was born in Minnesota, studied at Grinnell College in Iowa and lived most of her formative years in Madison, Wisconsin. While there, she pursued a career in conference management/event planning with an international professional membership association. Her local food frenzy started in Madison, spending Saturdays attending the largest producer-only farmers market in the U.S. and becoming an owner-member of the Willy Street Co-op. After 13 years, she was lured east by an opportunity to build an 11-acre homestead with friends in Western Maryland. It was here she explored growing her own food and sourcing her meals from her own backyard. Read more here.

Before landing in Central Pennsylvania, Stacey spent a year traveling the world seeking to find connection and commonality with diverse cultures. Food was often at the center of her many authentic experiences in foreign lands. Food is a great way to bring people together, and she sees the co-op as a way to build community and strengthen our resilience by consuming more fresh, local foods. Immediately upon her move, she began volunteering for the co-op. Stacey was able to utilize her planning experience to help coordinate the logistics for the membership kick-off, design our first pie contest and organize our inaugural membership meeting. When S

tacey is not out promoting Friends & Farmers, you can find her crafting some DIY repurposing project or digging up her lawn making more garden beds for edibles to grow.


Melanie Rosenberger is a longtime transplant to the Centre County region. Receiving her BFA in Fine Arts from Penn State University, Melanie fell in love with the surrounding area and decided to set her roo

ts here. Being the creative existential type, Melanie has worked a myriad of places and industries. She firmly planted herself in the hospitality industry, working at a few local restaurants, honing her craft. Melanie then decided to take a giant leap and moved to New York City to study Culinary Arts at the International Culinary Center, formerly known as the French Culinary Institute. Melanie worked at Perilla in Greenwich Village and Miller’s Tavern in Brooklyn, as well as Great Performances and Peter Callahan catering firms. This work in NYC, along with her longtime love of local foods, helped Melanie to understand what a treasure Centre County is for local foods. So she promptly returned!

For Melanie, food is her creative outlet, her voice, and her passion. She firmly believes that local foods should be available to all and working with Friends & Farmers Co-op is helping to make that belief a reality. Part of her job as the Online Market Manager is to set up SNAP Benefits to open the availability of local foods to everyone. When Melanie is not managing the co-op market, she can be found fervently baking scrumptious desserts for the Dante Group, at the Boalsburg Farmers Market photographing and eating the delicious treats, or hiking with her always loyal pup Scrappy.  


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