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Staff Profile: Jane

Taylor Dibbert

Jane is the Manager of the Wellness Department. She’s from Silver Spring and currently resides there. She lived, however, in various locations throughout the U.S. before returning to the Silver Spring (and Takoma Park) area.

She’s worked at the Co-op for eight-and-a-half years. She started out as a Sales Associate and then became a buyer. She’s been managing the Wellness Department for the past three-and-a-half years.

Jane has worked in retail for forty years. Before coming to the Co-op, she spent two decades in the Children’s Department at Borders Books; she worked at the Silver Spring location.

She has deep and longstanding ties to the Co-op. She supported the Co-op before the store even became operational. Jane contributed to fundraising efforts to help get the Silver Spring location going.

She loves the culture of the store and sincerely believes it’s a wonderful “global village” coming together to promote meaningful change. She tells me that, through its products, the Co-op is also working to address crucial issues head-on. From promoting regenerative farming and nutritional self-care to advocating for low- or no-waste to supporting local business, Jane excitedly tells me about the important role that the Co-op continues to play. “We carry Fair Trade crafts from Haiti, books bags made by refugees from Afghanistan and soap from Syria,” she says.

She sees the store, its values and its culture as a microcosm of the broader Takoma Park community, where diversity and inclusion are cherished. “No matter who comes into the store, people are treated respectfully,” she tells me.

For Wellness specifically, Jane spends time researching and considering what products make their way onto the shelves. She’s making assessments about the environmental and social impact that various companies have on the planet and society, such as B Corporations that make a commitment to community service.

Jane reminds me that the Co-op was providing plenty of tasty organic and vegan options long before most stores started doing so.

In terms of grabbing a meal at the Co-op, Jane, a vegetarian who mostly eats vegan, regularly goes for one of the prepared foods by Bete, an Ethiopian restaurant located in Silver Spring. These dishes also happen to be her favorite meal and are indeed vegan.

Even though Jane lives in Silver Spring, she’s lived in Takoma Park before and considers Takoma her community as well. She gets her hair cut at Salon Jam and regularly shops in town; she loves patronizing local businesses, particularly since many of them provide products that have been thoughtfully prepared or crafted. In that context, she tells me about the time that she bought a pair of vegan shoes at Amano.

Her favorite museum is the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Jane appreciates the spirituality that permeates the museum. And, the restaurant housed there is her favorite one in the Washington, D.C. area. She loves the Mexican hot chocolate, which includes a great blend of spices like cayenne pepper.

For her fantasy dinner party, she would have the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, a group of peace and environmental activists.

She’s looking forward to watching a new film about Harriet Tubman. “Harriet” is a biopic that comes out in November. Jane is fascinated by Tubman’s incredible story of gutsiness and courage.

In terms of reading, nowadays she mostly reads metaphysical or spiritual blogs. Jane became an ordained minister after having attended seminary from 2000 to 2001. She’s currently an Associate Minister at the Takoma Metaphyscial Chapel. She is part of a team that assists with spiritual counseling and education.

At the end of our conversation, Jane and I discussed current events and political polarization; these are topics about which she speaks passionately. She opines that now is a time when unity in America (and elsewhere) is growing even though the opposite may appear to be taking place.

“The divisions in the human experience are so sharp and painful now, but we have new ways of sharing experience across many boundaries with social media, the internet, and global journalism – if we so choose,” she says.

Jane also notes that “the horrors of warfare, which humanity can now observe in close-up on the evening news, are a strong motivation to seek understanding and peace.”

“The climate crisis affects everyone, which creates motivation to cooperate across national boundaries.”