Council

COOPERATIVE COUNCIL MEMBERS

The Cooperative Council is the democratically elected governing body of Urban Greens Co-op Market. Each of the following council members owns one membership interest in the Co-op. Each of them is a volunteer and is not paid for their time working with the Co-op.

Carol Auer

Carol’s desire to promote local food systems, sustainable agriculture, and environmental stewardship led her to apply for a position on the Council. She recently retired from the University of Connecticut after a research career focusing on crop ecology and plant gene flow. Some of the skills that Carol brings to the Council include grant writing and project management. Previous volunteer activities included working on a town conservation commission where she advocated for public open space, habitat protection, and environmental education. She currently lives in East Providence.

Corey Auger

Corey has volunteered with Urban Greens since 2008 and was elected to the Cooperative Council in 2009. His passion for cooperative business, food security, and community development is what compels him to contribute his time to making Urban Greens a reality. In his day job, Corey works in the Business and Technology Planning Group at a major healthcare company. He studied Social Thought and Political Economy at University of Massachusetts Amherst where he spent 3 years working at the People’s Market Co-op. He also spent time working at Willimantic Food Co-op (Willimantic, CT) and Fiddleheads Food Co-op (New London, CT).

Viennie Chanthachack (Secretary)

Viennie is excited to be back in Providence’s West End neighborhood, where he first found his roots in Rhode Island, and joins Urban Greens as a council member providing guidance on all things HR and employee experience after initially serving on the co-op’s hiring committee. He brings 8 years of experience working with both startup and corporate organizations to create and administer programs that empower teams to do their best work. His most recent experience comes from his time at Apple, supporting and growing their retail store teams in the Greater Boston and Rhode Island area. Outside of Urban Greens, Viennie currently works full-time in recruiting at HubSpot, a software-as-a-service company based in Cambridge, MA, and spends his personal time exploring Providence’s growing food scene. A native of Massachusetts, Viennie graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and earned a master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Emmanuel College.

Antonieta Falconi

Antonieta is currently the CFO at Social Enterprise Greenhouse (formerly Social Venture Partners RI).  Her prior experience includes work in small business development for Social Enterprise Greenhouse and for the Latino Economic Development Center in Washington DC. She also worked in management consulting and as general manager of a small corporation.  Through her work and personal life she wants to support businesses with a social and/or environmental mission. She is particularly interested in organizations that help improve our food system. Antonieta and her husband live on the West Side and became members of Urban Greens Food Co-op immediately after moving to Providence 4 years ago.

Gian Facenda (Treasurer)

Gian Facenda is a born & raised Rhode Islander, residing in East Providence, after a far away move from his childhood home in Pawtucket.  A long time foodie, he went to school for Food Marketing & for the past 8 years plus, has worked for a leading Distributor of Natural & Organic Foods throughout North America in Providence.  When not attempting to recreate episodes of Chopped at home, Gian enjoys traveling with his wife Lauren, kayaking, Cold-brew coffee, biking & going to the beach. He looks forward to helping Urban Greens say “Hi Neighbor” to the new neighborhood, customers & most importantly friends.

Urban Greens logo in three shades of green, three buildings in the background, fruit and vegetables in the foreground, and text on the bottom that reads, "Urban Greens Co-op Market".

Barbara Fleury

As an MPA student Barbara Fleury was introduced to social justice issues, for example: redlining, preferred housing, economic deprivation and the social determinants of health disparities, such as the lack of access to healthy food.  As Barbara volunteered for Urban Greens over the years in setting up, community outreach, fulfilling secretarial roles during annual meetings, and cleaning up, she was at the forefront of the conversation on how to approach food insecurity. This eventually connected with her studies and her interest blossomed as she contributed more to Urban Greens. Currently, she is a council member and looking to connect with the Department of Health’s Social Justice Roundtable to affect change in these issues.

Jena Gaines (Vice-Chairperson)

Jena was born and grew up in Newport. She completed an MA and PhD in European history at the University of Virginia, and then taught at Mount Holyoke College and Western Michigan University.  After changing careers and moving back to Rhode Island, she began volunteering at Urban Greens and the Fertile Underground Grocery, where she learned about food insecurity and community gardening. She believes that every community needs a co-operative grocery store like Urban Greens, that supports local farms and offers affordable and healthy food.  In addition to working with Urban Greens, she toils as a proofreader and copyeditor, serves on the governing board of Bell Street Chapel and volunteers (with her dog) with Beacon Hospice.

Samantha Morse

Samantha came to Urban Greens because of her strong interest in environmental sustainability as it relates to health and food sector waste. She has consulted in a variety of organizations building better operational systems and coordinating volunteers, a role she recently assumed at Urban Greens. She has an extensive background working with refugees, both here and abroad. As director of the Asylum Program for Physicians for Human Rights, Sam managed all aspects of their program to support torture survivors seeking political asylum in the United States. Sam currently lives in Providence with her three children, husband, and very hairy dog.

Marc Popkin

Marc was born in Providence, RI, and after attending schools in Massachusetts and Tennessee, and working in the film industry in California, Marc returned to Rhode Island and made it his home. In 2012, Marc graduated from Roger Williams University School of Law and settled in Providence, in Luongo Square in Federal Hill. Marc is a proud, contributing member of his vibrant, diverse neighborhood. In addition to his law practice, Marc is a conscientious entrepreneur. Marc completed the Leadership Rhode Island program in 2016 and has previous board experience with the Contemporary Theater in Wakefield, RI. He is particularly passionate about environmental and food issues impacting people in his local community.

Cassie Tharinger

Cassie has been involved with Urban Greens Food Co-op in various capacities since 2004, when she first became active in the UG Buying Club, and has been involved with assorted community initiatives in the city relating to food, farming, & the arts. She has worked professionally in arts administration, farming and orcharding. Currently, she is the Market Manager for a year-round farmers market at Mount Hope Farm in Bristol, RI, and is the Director of the Providence Neighborhood Planting Program, a tree planting program that engages communities throughout Providence. Cassie grew up in the food co-ops of Vermont, and believes strongly that the cooperative economic model is a powerful and radical one; one which empowers individuals and communities and can help bring health & equity to our food system.

Philip Trevvett (Chairperson)

Philip works at Harvard Medical School in the Center for Biomedical Informatics. He has lived primarily in Providence since 2002. He has volunteered with farming & food businesses and organizations such as Red Planet Vegetables, Beltane Dairy Farm, and Farm Fresh RI, and is an avid community gardener. He believes strongly in the need for regional food systems and local infrastructure and sees food co-ops as a key piece of the puzzle.

Council Meeting Minutes