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6 Ways Menomonie Market Food Co-op Is Here for our Community

When I moved to Wisconsin in 2015, I learned that one of the hardest parts of relocating is finding a new community. And because I grew up in a family that shopped at bigger chains where you get in and out as quickly as you can, the last place I expected to find one was at a grocery store. It wasn’t until I accepted my position at Menomonie Market Food Co-op that I truly understood how much co-ops care for their communities, and now that I get to further our mission of being central to a thriving, healthy community every day, I can’t imagine not being part of it. These are just some of the many ways we work hard to be here for our community year-round:

1. Sourcing Local: We know the #1 way to make a difference in our community is to keep our dollars within it. That’s why we aim to source products from local suppliers as often as is feasible while still keeping them affordable. Our current goal is that at least 37% of our product selection be local within the next five years.

2. Promoting Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA): Another way we support local farms is by hosting our annual CSA Fair every spring and being a drop-off location for several area suppliers. That way you can easily pick up your CSA shares while shopping for other groceries each week.

3. Distributing Farm Grants: Each year we award thousands of dollars to local growers, producers, and/or processors through our Fund Our Foodshed Grant Program. Our goal is to support the small but vital projects that will help them provide even more food to our community, and we host the winners at events so you can meet them in person too.

4. Hosting Community Classes & Events: Nothing creates a sense of community quite like gathering together! That’s why we host lots of fun community classes and events throughout the year. Check out the event calendar on our website to find one to attend as they return over the next few months.

5. Offering Donations & Sponsorships: Every year, we give back upwards of $10,000 in various donations to community events, organizations, and causes we support.

6. Creating Food Access: We believe everyone in our community should have access to good food regardless of budget. To promote accessibility, we partner with National Co+op Grocers to offer discounts on products each month, run big sales every so often, and give out coupons to help you trim your grocery bill. We also run our Double Dollars Program, a nutrition incentive opportunity for Wisconsin FoodShare users to buy more fresh produce, as funds are available.

If you’re craving community, especially after a year of distancing, we invite you to be part of ours, whether that means buying a meal from our Deli occasionally or becoming an owner. Take it from me—our co-op community is fun, friendly, and full of delicious food!

This article was originally published in the July/August 2021 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.

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