From the Board: Diversity is a Blessing

Everyone Welcome

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!”

2 Comments

Linda Crosby

Sorry, I don’t feel the poor or low income are welcome. I’m a member of Menomonie Coop. It took me 25 years to be able to join and when I go and see the prices, I feel it’s just out of my price league. I’m a senior citizen who lives on a very fixed low income and budget. It concerns me very much that the prices are so pricey. That low-income families and children are not able to shop at the coop and be able to have quality foods.

Reply
Beth Martin

Hi Linda,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. This is Beth, I recall us connecting in a great phone conversation a few months ago about the co-op, and I’m glad to see you’ve been in the store more frequently this year!

Those words ‘Everyone Welcome’ above the front doors will always represent the vision we have for every interaction with every single customer who walks through our doors—as well as the overall experience we are bringing to the community. The co-op is a place to find competitive pricing on everyday staples but also a place where customers can find unique specialty items and locally produced foods and goods. We offer price points and products to fit a variety of budgets and needs.

We are always looking for ways to meet our Ends goal of being central to a thriving healthy community. One way is through our donations of food and money to Stepping Stones food pantry throughout the year. The other is by offering programs that help increase food access in our community. Many of our shoppers participate in FoodShare WI. We are excited to be nearing the launch of a new program called Double Dollars, a program where FoodShare WI participants can receive a dollar for dollar match on purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables. This Double Dollars program is currently being self-funded through donations at the register. We also are proud to accept food vouchers from UMOS of Menomonie (United Migrant Opportunity Services), an agency providing workforce development and crisis relief to seasonal farm workers in our region.

The following four programs bring competitive pricing to our customers:

Fresh Deals. A weekly flyer features deep discount pricing on produce, meat/seafood, cheeses.
Co-op Deals. This flyer runs approx. every two weeks with flyers available in the store and by mail, and green Co-op Deals tags at each item. Co-op Deals offer competitive pricing on primarily packaged goods and bulk items
Basics. This program features everyday low prices on staples like canned beans, milk, eggs and meats – among many other items.
Owner Deals. A monthly flyer available in the store or on our website featuring deeply discounted sales on over 100 products throughout the store.

Unfortunately food prices are on the rise across the nation. When we moved into our new store in 2015 we were able to reduce prices on most of our items due to our increased purchasing power through the National Co-op Grocer’s negotiated contracted with UNFI. It is true that we cannot compete with the Wal-Marts and huge grocery chains in the world; however, our Co-op Deals items often beat the sale pricing of our competitors when looking at packaged goods. For fresh items in produce, meats, and dairy, Menomonie Market is often the lowest price in town for the same item.

We appreciate your thoughtful concern and I hope this information is helpful.
Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Sincerely,
Beth Martin
Marketing Manager
715.231.3663 x 215
beth@mmfc.coop

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