What do you think are important issues facing the co-op?
A new challenge for the Co-op will be the addition of a Whole Foods to Bozeman. It will be critical to continue to stay locally-focused, supporting and purposefully engaging the generations that have grown up with the convenience of Amazon. These generations (of which I am a part) often assume that larger companies are cheaper for all products, so it will be important to actively dispel that belief with regards to shopping local/supporting the Co-op. Additionally, the Co-op remains poised to be a local leader in climate change mitigation, both in terms of supporting farmers/ranchers who practice or are interested in sustainable agriculture, as well as those actively working to convert to renewable energy practices, often as a supplemental income. As the Co-op continues to expand, it must maintain a balance of supporting local growers while keeping costs stable year-round. The Co-op provides safe space for LGBTQ and BIPOC communities, and will need to continue to prioritize these communities and individuals as our region grows and changes.
What strengths would you bring to the Board?
If selected for the Co-op board, I would bring a strong voice for climate change mitigation and social justice. I would push for holding the Co-op to high standards when it comes to renewable energy solutions (and support others in the community to do the same). I would strive be a voice for new generations of farmers, especially first-generation female farmers in this community, as well as those who are interested in or already practicing sustainable farming/ranching. Finally, I would help navigate future issues of incoming larger businesses, such as Whole Foods, to ensure that the Co-op retains its special character while adapting to meet the growing needs of Gallatin Valley.
What aspects of the Co-op Board of Directors do you find of interest?
I am interested in being on the Co-op board because of the dynamic and diverse group of people who make up not only the board, but also the staff and members. Growing up as a lover of food in a small ranching town in northern Wyoming, I have a deep appreciation for the richness that good, locally-sourced food provides a community. Additionally, the Co-op is a main reason that I now live in Bozeman; I would therefore like to give back while playing a role in the future of this community.
Kate Belton was born and raised in Wyoming and has deep roots in the Rocky Mountain West. She now calls Bozeman home. She is a ceramic artist, as well as a freelance non-profit consultant, editor, and graphic designer for organizations specializing in land and water conservation, climate change mitigation, Indigenous cultures, and the arts
Kate is active in communicating about and supporting climate change mitigation. Through her work with small land trusts across the country, she is an advocate for sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, divestment, and social justice. She understands that local food and locally-owned and run businesses are at the core of a healthy economy, a healthy community, and tangible solutions for a sustainable future.
Frequent travel, as well as living abroad and on both coasts, has left Kate with a deep appreciation for diversity—among people, experiences, and foods—and well as a comfort with new ideas and change. She is an alumna of Colorado College.