Michelle Melnyk

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.”

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Mandy Melnyk

Meet more about Mandy.


Mandy Melnyk is a board member and producer.

In 2011, Mandy made the decision to make a living on the land. She began growing organic vegetables like onions, garlic and beets, and raising chickens and turkeys outside. She believes that when it comes to raising animals, there is no healthier animal than an animal that is free and able to garnish the natural nutrients from the grasses around us. She believes in regenerative and holistic farming practices such as not just feeding the plant, but feeding the soil so that it will be able to produce for future generations.

“In July of 2018, when we decided that we needed to start getting some actual collective marketing power in the North – not only to distribute our products, but to create. To create some of the best pies and pierogies that Weasel Creek ever saw. It’s a bit of a work-in-progress as we learn how to put together our individual farms and talents. It’s like putting together a puzzle – every person that joins the Co-op may be a farmer, they may be a chef, but they all fit because they have a passion and a love for our rural communities.

The essence of our Co-op is not just about a place to come and eat, it’s about understanding that there’s a respect for the land and that the goods are being produced in and around our area. It’s a respect both ways – producers/caretakers and consumers.

As member-producers, together, we’ll be able to learn from each other to enhance ourselves as individual producers but also as a collective co-op.

It’s important for people to know that they can grow food in our rural communities and what our hope for the Co-op is that we can collectively market that for them so that small people who want to make an income off of the soil that exists in our communities can do so without thinking that they have to be really big. There is a place for small production in our rural economies and we want to help people harness that.”

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