Volunteer spotlight: Carole Shafer

The heart of any co-op is its member-owners, and that is certainly true of the Fredericksburg Food Co-op. This monthly feature will tell you more about some of the member-owners who give their time and talents to help us on our path toward opening a free-standing, locally owned grocery store. Want to help out? Contact us about volunteering!

Name: Carole Shafer 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am married and live in Lee’s Hill. We moved to the area five years ago. We have one dog who was born deaf. We have been learning and teaching her some basic signs that I call “DSL – Dog Sign Language.”  I have a composting “key hole” garden which is a raised bed with a basket for adding materials to compost. I’ve had pretty good success with it.  Professionally I am the Director of Human Resources for a government contractor in Fredericksburg. My position is a mix of compliance with laws and regulations and assisting people in their daily roles. Our employees are scattered all over the US and in two other countries.  

How did you hear about the Fredericksburg Food Co-op and why did you become a member?

I saw the booth at the Farmers’ Market one Saturday morning. I became a member because I missed having access to good quality produce. I was raised on a farm and we had a very large garden just outside of the front door. We ate what we raised so my siblings and I were part of the lifecycle of planting, caring and harvesting the vegetables. The produce was canned for use over the winter. Even though I have a garden, it is considerably smaller and the soil isn’t the quality that it was in the Midwest so gardening was more challenging and I did not have the success as we did on the farm. (The composting garden helps a great deal now.) I really missed real vegetables and real fruit. We joined at first to increase our access to fresh products. From there we became more involved. 

What volunteer work do you do with the co-op and what do you like most about volunteering?

I volunteer at the Farmers’ Market in the booth on a fairly regular basis. I enjoy meeting the people at the market and talking about their passions and ideas. I have also volunteered with the Board to assist them with Human Resources needs that are presenting themselves when preparing to open our first store. It has been interesting to see how the Board works and rewarding to see the depth of knowledge and understanding (and excitement) they bring to the Food Co-op. As a member owner, I am delighted to have such a great group working toward our end goals.  

What are you most looking forward to about the coop? 

I’m looking forward to local and fresh offerings. I am hopeful to meet some of the producers and get to know my farmers and the people who put their hearts into growing. I am also looking forward to shopping in a place that employs people who know me and care about the people shopping there.  

What’s your favorite thing about the Fredericksburg food scene? 

The variety and the excellence of the food scene in Fredericksburg is very impressive. The outstanding talent and professionals in the area is wonderful. The variety of different foods – Indian, Cuban, Cajun, Italian and, of course, burgers and fries – is exciting and fun to explore. 

What one local food experience would you not want our readers to miss? 

Don’t be afraid to experience what you do not know. Tell the person waiting on you that you are new to their food. I have found such an openness from the owner/operators of the food establishments to tell you about their food and their processes.  

What advice would you have for someone considering becoming a co-op member? 

This is not just membership in a grocery store. This is membership in a community. You can shop with us even if you are not a member (and join us at our events) but you can become a part of a community who has a voice in the food co-op. This experience will be wonderfully unique.