Board of Directors

The Bethlehem Food Co-Op board is elected each October at the annual membership meeting. The following individuals are the current team of leaders working hard to bring a community-owned grocery store to our community.

Board of Directors

Nick Blankenberg

Nick is originally from New Jersey and has lived in Bethlehem since 2011. He joined the Co-Op with his wife shortly after moving here, but because of children never managed to become as involved as he wanted. He sees the Co-Op as a path to improving food-security in Bethlehem and hopes that it can be an important part of a more sustainable Lehigh Valley. His family has spent the last 5 years working to turn their city lot into an edible forest garden. Now that the children are getting older and the garden is better established, he is ready to commit more time to the Co-Op. He spends his weekdays working as a registered nurse at the 17th and Chew Street hospital in Allentown.

Jennifer Dize

Jennifer Dize has resided in the Lehigh Valley since 2007, and currently lives in Bethlehem with her wife and their brood of dogs and cats. Jenn and Emily are pioneer members of the co-op and have been active since its inception.  Jenn began work at Lafayette College in December 2015 and, with a much shorter commute than her previous employment, is eager to commit more time and energy to the co-op. Jenn has worked in student affairs at colleges and universities for more than 10 years and is experienced at building community, leading teams, and programmatic efforts.

Marsh_Colleen.jpgColleen Marsh

Colleen serves as the board chair. She grew up in the Bethlehem area and currently lives downtown with her husband, daughter, and two cats. She graduated summa cum laude from Moravian College with a BA in Graphic and Interactive Design, and currently works for the College as the IT Project Manager. Outside of work, she is an active volunteer as a Girl Scout leader for several troops, has a work-share at a local CSA, and co-leads the communications committee for the Bethlehem Food Co-Op. Her family enjoys hiking, camping, foraging/fishing/hunting, art, theatre, and cooking. Colleen is passionate about improving our food system and feels that the Bethlehem Food Co-Op is crucial to that improvement in the Lehigh Valley.

Laura Penske

Laura_Penske.jpegOriginally from Providence, RI, Laura Penske moved to Bethlehem in 2011. She quickly became invested in her local community, contributing to several area sustainability organizations/initiatives. Laura earned her master’s degree from Lehigh University in Environmental Policy Design with a focus on food systems in 2013. She has work experience in community outreach and project management.

Laura is passionate about food (growing, cooking, and eating), the environment, and community fellowship, and believes the Bethlehem Food Co-op supports all of these values. She is a member of the Co-op’s Outreach Committee and also helps with the Communications Committee. Laura and her husband Stephen now live in Coopersburg, although they are in Bethlehem often and are looking forward to shopping at the Co-op.

LaKeisha Thorpe


LaKeisha is Assistant Dean of Moravian College's Graduate and Adult Studies and has been in higher education for roughly 12 years and teaching for the past 6 years.

Her doctoral research is squarely grounded in the narratives surrounding food habits, food pathways, and their importance to our cultural identities. Her work, an arts-based research project, theorizes what might happen if we became the culture and ethnicity associated with the food we ingest.

She frequently presents on issues of transdisciplinary study, blended learning, and arts-based research methodologies. Recently she has presented at Cedar Crest College, Providence College, and Bryn Mawr College and The University of Rochester. She is a writer, director and executive producer on short films, and web series. She's been an editor, a guest lecturer, is a published author, and spent 4 years as a radio show host in Philadelphia, Pa.

She graduated from Goddard College with her MFA-W and earned her Ph.D. from California Institute of Integral Studies.

Javier Toro

Javier R. Toro was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He earned a B.A. in History and Political Science from the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico. During his 22 years as a resident of Bethlehem, he has been a very active member of the community.

Currently, he is a member of the Bethlehem Mayor's Latino Advisory Committee and the Lehigh University South Side Initiative. He was the former Executive Director of the South Bethlehem Neighborhood Center and former President of the South Bethlehem Historical Society.

He has been a member of many community organizations, including CUNA of Bethlehem, Fountain Hill Elementary School Leadership Team, Broughal Middle School Student Performance Task Force, Donegan Elementary School Fowler Family Center Advisory Board, Puerto Rican Cultural Coalition Board Member, YWCA Coalition Against Racism and the South Side Vision 2012 Open Space and Youth Services Sub-committees.


Tracey Werner

Tracey Werner is a marketing and public relations professional and owner of Blabbermouth Communications in Bethlehem. Her local clients include nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses in the community. She grew up in Allentown and is proud to be a lifelong Lehigh Valley resident currently living in downtown Bethlehem. She co-chairs the Co-op’s Communications Committee with Board President Colleen Marsh. She’s passionate about buying local and supporting local businesses whenever she can. Tracey is also an episodic volunteer with the nonprofit Easton Main Street Initiative and has been for over a decade.


Former Directors

Emily Hoffert

Kelly Allen

Gary Warren

Heather Manning

Deb Fritz

Joseph Amedeo

Andrew Bench

Matt Hengeveld

Jon Soden

Varee Var

Santiago Rivera

Cathy Reuscher

Jaime Karpovich

Matty Sarro

Amber Ott











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