Michelle Melnyk is a board member, treasurer, and mother of two children, Stella and Mary Alice.
With a history of community organization, Michelle believes in the vision of this project and in taking the risk to create economic and community-focused options in her own community. As someone who spent 8 years driving to work because she thought she did not have any other options, Michelle sees The Gathering Place Co-op as an opportunity to be present in the area that she lives in, reduce her carbon footprint, and cultivate creativity. Michelle loves the idea of providing the space for customers to taste the food while meeting the people who grew it, as well as creating a gathering space for events and activities for the community. She sees The Gathering Place Co-op as a trailblazing entity. “I have old and new memories of gathering with the women in my family to make perogies, cabbage rolls and perishke. Usually in preparation for a wedding celebration, family gathering or funeral. It was and is in those circles where I learned how to roll dough, prepare the filling and pinch. It is also where stories are told. It is kind of interesting how people seem to become comfortable talking while making food… I have always found it to be a subtle gift from the women in my family. There is a lot of truth that gets shared around those circles. I like making good food that people want to eat. I do not like biting into a perogy that is mostly dough and has a bland filling. I think that is a disservice to perogies. I am intentional about making my perogies flavorful. I want people to have comfort food when they need it for whatever the occasion is. The Co-op is an opportunity to do some of the things I’ve said to myself that I want to do in terms of being part of a cooperative effort and mobilizing the power of frontline producers. The Co-op is a tangible effort. It is a business that is being built from the ground-up.”