Submitted by MMFC board member: Gary Johnson
This statement “Everyone is Welcome” is posted at the entrance to the Menomonie Market Food Co-op. I notice it each time I enter our co-op and find it welcoming and reassuring. Food is a part of all of our lives, no matter what our race or gender, background or politics…we all get hungry and need to eat in order to live. So, as we are welcomed to MMFC, we bring our uniqueness as well as our common need to eat food to live.
Our co-op owners/members have an opportunity to join with over 2,000 other owners to share in the benefits of membership with special member deals and sales and joint ownership in our cooperative and electing the board of directors. However, non-members are also welcome to shop, because our common MMFC value is that “Everyone is Welcome”.
At our owner appreciation event in 2017, another MMFC board member and I were greeting people in the co-op when a young woman told us that she loves being at MMFC because she knows that just being in the Market will make her feel better if she is having a challenging day and like so many others, she just loves her co-op.
Diversity is a blessing to any community of people because it allows for unique and different perspectives that promote growth and strength for its membership. Diversity also can create challenges to our own perspective and thoughts of how things are or should be. However, if we come together with the goal of wanting to understand the other’s perspective, rather than clinging to our own thinking, we have a chance to grow and perhaps all of our previous perspectives will shift and change.
Because our co-op is welcoming to all and is a place that feels good to be at, and a place that feels safe, there is a greater potential for coming together to listen to each other with the goal of understanding the other person’s perspective…isn’t that the challenge of our country and our world today? We all want to be understood by others and to understand others.
Our wonderful co-op deli and seating area provides a fine place to come together to share delicious and healthy food and to share our thoughts. The conversations that begin in any other spot in the store with people we know is wonderful, but it is also a wonderful place to meet people we don’t already know and expand the rippling effect of building community. High quality food and other needed supplies are always found here but there is so much more to be gained at MMFC because, “Everyone is welcome!”