Wendy MacDougall, Board of Directors
I love, love, love spring! It is a time of regaining strength and connections as it takes less time to run out the door; you can bike, walk, and see people in the nicer weather. I love the mud, the soft warm breezes, and even if they feel like they are blowing off a snowbank, it fills me with excitement about the growing season. I enjoy gardening and planting basil to make pesto (using pecans), and I especially enjoy the persistence of the perennials that reappear after our cold winters.
One thing I love about the co-op is feeling like I’m at a year-long farmer’s market. I know where the food is grown, I admire the seasonal variety and I like to chat with my neighbors when I am shopping and admiring the variety available. I am now really looking forward to the outdoor Menomonie Farmers Market .
I also love, love, love Menomonie Market and all the amazing accomplishments that have resulted from community engagement and living our co-op values; we recognize that we are stronger together.
One piece of history that evolved from our move to our current location is such a great story that I want to share it with you. If you already know this story, well just enjoy it like you do any good accomplishment by reliving it a little. In the summer of 2014, MMFC had the expansion and development planned and had purchased the city block where the co-op is currently located. The City, MMFC, and Cedar Corporation collaborated to apply for a Wisconsin Economic Development Corp (WEDC) grant. We received the largest award that year; $500,000 was awarded and used during construction to build our beautiful store. The grant required a development agreement with the City that MMFC wouldn’t pursue property tax relief and the city would use that property tax revenue to build the farmer’s market pavilion and make street and pedestrian improvements along 8th Street between the pavilion and MMFC. The intent was to boost the local economy which included our local food system and community meeting space. This is an example of creative and thoughtful use of resources, and cooperation. Already, the neighborhood is growing as we welcome new businesses Hive & Hollow and Zymurgy Brewing Co.
The pavilion itself has a great story and you can find more about that here.
Innovation, creativity, welcoming each other, and building community in a public space are all great reasons to celebrate our co-op, the Farmers Market and spring.
Now I am ready for a little sunshine!