Meet the Board: Johanna Z

  | Board of Directors

Johanna Zalneraitis was elected to the Co-op Board in last November’s election. Her dad has lived in the area since the 1980s; she lived in a downtown apartment for 17 years, which began her shopping at the Co-op. When she bought a house last year, she felt more anchored, wanted to be a more active part of the community, so she ran for the Board of Directors.

When did you become a member of the Co-op?

I was a member with my ex since 2004, but on my own Feb 3 2011.

What do you do for a living?

I’ve been working for Trader Joe’s Grocery store for almost 19 years (one year in Framingham, MA and the rest in Hadley, MA).

How do you like to spend your spare time?

I spend most of my free time practicing yoga, reading, and cooking a lot of vegan food. I also hope to get going on learning to play bass guitar again. (If anyone out there wants to help me on that, please reach out.) As soon as the weather gets warmer, I’ll start running again.

Are you a member of any other cooperatives?


How have you spent your time through the pandemic?

Mostly working, but in the warmer part of the year, obsessing over finally being able to garden again after about 18 years.

What brought you to this area?

My father has been here since the early 80’s, and my sisters and I would come for weekly overnights. I eventually started visiting for school breaks, and then a summer. When my father told me about an open apartment, I think just wanting to be in a town that I’ve loved living in more than any other. It’s 38 miles from my job, but it’s worth it.

What do you like most about our Co-op?

First, I love the location. From my old apartment I could walk there in about 2 minutes. Now it’s 17, but that’s OK. I also love the range of products that can make it a one-stop shopping experience if need be. And, the Co-op has a superior bulk department!

What’s your most favorite Co-op food item?

Bulk beans and grains.

With what person, alive or dead, would you like to have lunch, and why?

I’m vegan, so I would like to have dinner at Donna Jean in San Diego (I haven’t been yet) with Joaquin Phoenix and his wife Rooney Mara. He’s my choice because he was raised vegan, and I am a huge fan of his acting and activism. I don’t know if I would talk about his brother, River, but I would mention him somehow.

What drew you to serve on the Brattleboro Food Co-op Board of Directors?

Now that I’ve taken the leap of homeownership in Brattleboro, I thought that being on the Co-op Board would be the next step in deepening my bond and commitment to being a resident of Brattleboro.

What do you like the most about being on the Board of Directors?

I love meeting people whom I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Not only Brattleboro area folks, but people from all over the region and country when we have conferences and trainings.