Tell us a little about yourselves-where are you from, what do you do for a living, any hobbies?
My name is See ViXai Thao [ “See ViXai” is my first name, but I go by “See” for short]. I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and raised here in Manitowoc. Manitowoc is home. I am currently a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, studying my Master in Social Work with emphasis’ in School and Clinical practice. Prior to returning to school, I had worked three years in higher education as an Academic and Career Advisor.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, mentoring at-risk youth, cooking and reading. I am involved with various committees that addresses: education, social services, diversity and physical and mental health. Over the last few years, I had also made a commitment to improving my health. I am a certified POUND and Schwinn Spin Instructor and teach at The Station.
Why did you invest in the co-op and become an owner?
I have benefited greatly from the available resources in Manitowoc, and now it is my time to give back. Therefore, I have decided to invest in the Co-Op. I learned about the Co-Op during the 100 days [health] challenge, Lean on the Lakeshore. After seeing several posts on Facebook and a familiar face, I got connected to learn more about the Co-Op. I believe with the Co-Op being community built and driven, it signifies the strong bond we have as a community here in Manitowoc and in our county.
Why do you feel Manitowoc needs a food co-op?
People are living longer and taking care of their health. Coming from a family that gardens as well, consuming fresh produce has always been a delight. Having a Co-Op in Manitowoc will not only provide locally produced products for the community, but also support our local farmers. Having had the opportunity to visit local farmers and tasting/using their produce and products, there is a need for continuous support, awareness, and education. I believe the Co-Op is the stepping stone to this initiative.