From The Board: How the Food Co-op is Good for my Health in Changing Seasons
Guest Post by Board Member, Wendy MacDougall
The daylight is shortening and being an owner of Menomonie Market Food Co-op is good for my health!
There are many factors that contribute to health and during this autumnal season of transition, and I find myself thinking about them. I miss the light as the days shorten, and if/when the sun breaks through during the day, I find myself delighted and surprised. It’s that light that reminds me to be mindful of opportunities that benefit personal and community health in preparation for winter.
I have found that, as a co-op owner, I have access to a wide range of opportunities to be healthier. These include community connectedness, working toward a common goal, participating in meaningful projects, and opportunities to learn more about myself and other people. All of these opportunities contribute to overall well-being, as much as healthful food options and physical activity. The healthful food options are another great connection to the local farm community and people that we rely on for delicious food in all seasons.
Being a board member, I have learned more about the ends statement and find this phrase very significant in my vision of health: “Our owners have a vital sense of ownership and belonging.”
Being a nurse, I have seen the importance in people having a sense of belonging and how it improves health and well-being. People have essential needs that must be met in order to thrive. These include self-awareness, food, water and shelter, health and vitality, a sense of purpose, enthusiasm, social support, and community. I wouldn’t expect Menomnie Market to take care of all those dimensions, but I am very impressed that so many are included in our ends statement and addressed in a variety of ways.
As an owner and board member, I have benefited from classes to learn more about the local food system and healthy choices for physical, social, and environmental needs, as well as the “round up” contributions that go toward community improvement and agencies that support a healthy environment, the arts, shelter, clean water, etc.
There are also many opportunities to meet other people and have fun at Menomonie Market, whether it’s through a class, a farm visit, a vendor in the store, or stopping for coffee. The staff predictably bring a “cup of sunshine” to the day, and I am always thankful for their helpfulness and positivity.
If you are already an Menomonie Market Food Co-op owner, consider this an affirmation of your decision to support a business and celebrate the many opportunities to improve your health and well-being. If you aren’t yet an owner, please consider this one strategy to improve your health and contribute to a thriving, healthy community.