Meet the Abundance Board of Directors

The Abundance Board of Directors is what makes Abundance Food Co-op a democratic form of business.

The Board is made up of nine shareholders who are elected by fellow shareholders to represent their interests.
Learn more about how the Board work and how shareholders can get involved with the co-op >

Chris Whitebell

Katie Malarkey, Vice President

Katie has served on the Abundance Board of Directors for almost two years as Vice President. She is currently a stay-at-home-mom to her toddler son and baby daughter. Her education includes a bachelors degree in Physics from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Masters in Physics from Clarkson University. She also serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Parenting Village, a nonprofit organization that seeks to connect and support new and experienced parents locally. Katie fully supports the expansion of Abundance as a means to introduce more of our community to healthy natural and organic foods offered through an innovative and socially-conscious business model.

Max Gianniny, Treasurer

Max is a Rochester native currently working in property management. He became interested in Abundance because of an interest in both healthy food and cooperative ownership. A new location would allow much greater access to the store and help Abundance stay ahead in a fast changing industry.

Peter House

Paula Hansen

Originally from Long Island, Paula has lived in Rochester since 1976.  She shopped a the Genesee Foood Store on Monroe Ave and, with her spouse Susan, became a shareholder at Abundance soon after the move to Marshall Street.  A retired Rochester City School District teacher, she continues to volunteer in an elementary school and loves working with students who are just learning to read.  She has also been active with the Master Gardeners of Cooperative Extension, enjoys camping and kayaking  around our area.  Just recently, she’s joined New Horizons Band and is learning to play the alto saxophone.  She is looking forward to working on the Board and helping with the challenge of the upcoming move.  She believes that being part of a shareholder-owned co-op is an important part of supporting our community and democracy.

Maria Coles

Maria has had a long, deep commitment to fighting for social justice and stopping the simultaneous erosion of our own health and that of our planet. Co-ops contribute to these goals, which is why she joined Abundance as soon as she returned to Rochester from Ithaca, thereby continuing her long commitment to co-ops over the years. Maria believes that Abundance is a place where values that matter are always in practice. For her, the fact that Abundance is not run to accrue profit for an owner or a handful of owners, but to provide food that is both necessary and delicious while jobs are created in our own community, is also critical to why she joined the Abundance Board of Directors.

Karl Abbott

I have been a shareholder for 4 years, and am a firm believer in the cooperative model of owning our store, and keeping the money local I also like that we support local food producers.  Currently I am semi-retired, but work several hours at a town library, and volunteer a few hours helping stock the shelves in Abundance.  Before semi-retirement I have been a senior project manager, assistant in a homeless men’s shelter, political campaign coordinator, and as a manager in a natural foods store.  My wife Nancy and I live in an 1890’s house in the city.  We have three very active grandsons that we don’t get to see as much as we would like.  I like to travel (Switzerland train trip up next), read, kayak, and work on (play with) my model trains.

Beth Garver

Beth has served on the Abundance Board of Directors for more than 7 years. She has served as Treasurer and is currently Secretary. Beth has been an Abundance supporter since its inception. Beth currently works for BOCES and has a background in marketing and education. Beth has attended co-operative movement events regionally and nationally, and is a strong advocate for strengthening and growing member owned local initiatives. Beth is very excited about Abundance’s recent expansion because it offers a larger venue and opportunities for further community engagement and partner initiatives.

Leah Feldman, Staff Representative

How the Board of Directors works

Term limits, regular meetings, and other conditions outlining how the Board works can be found in the By-laws of Abundance Food Co-op. The vision for the co-op outlining it’s purpose is contained in the Global Ends Policy of Abundance Food Co-op.

Annual meetings

Annual meetings

Every year, shareholders come together to discuss the current state of the co-op and to share ideas and feedback about its future. Meetings usually begin with a potluck meal and a little fun before updates are given to the general ownership from the Board and the General Manager, who is tasked with the business operation of the store by the Board.


Committee meetings

The Board organizes a series of committees that support different, vital activities of the co-op, such as community outreach, legislative and legal documentation, and much more. Each committee may be made up by Board members, volunteer shareholders, and staff members.

Interested in learning more about joining a committee? Get in touch!

Regular Board of Directors meetings

The Board of Directors meets every second Thursday of the month at 6:00 pm. These regular meetings are open to any shareholder to attend.

Other shareholder meetings

Beyond the regular schedule of meetings, shareholders may meet around a specific issue or initiative concerning the co-op. Like all participation in the co-op, it is entirely voluntary and never a mandatory part of being a shareholder.