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How Menomonie Market Fulfills Co-op Principle #7: Concern For Community

While focusing on owner needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the owners. As I reflect on Co-op Principle #7 (Concern for Community) specifically, I think about its definition from our local co-op’s perspective and believe there are many ways we fulfill this principle at our store.

For example, our board of directors is always focused on meeting the needs of our owners while at the same time looking for ways to strengthen and sustain our local community. We do this by developing policies and programs about which our owners can feel good and support.

Another example includes supporting and developing our network of local growers and vendors. These farmers and growers are our neighbors. We know and trust them, and they know and trust our co-op, and especially during this pandemic, trust is incredibly important. Our growers and vendors know that our co-op will do whatever can be done to ensure that their crops and goods will continue to have a place to be sold. Our owners also know that their food will be high quality, despite the challenges of our new COVID-19 reality, and the profits will remain local, not sent to a multinational corporate office.

To help our community through the pandemic, our leadership team was able to creatively expand shopping options to allow for online shopping and curbside pickup to protect those of us with fragile health issues that prevent in-store shopping. And they also implemented additional sanitation practices, a face covering policy, and more in-store to protect the staff and customers.

In normal years, our co-op also reaches out to our community by offering many classes that educate and share skills with all of our shoppers. And they also often feature local products during store sales at discount prices.

A final example is that our co-op provides many opportunities for owners and shoppers alike to suggest ways to improve the services that we offer and new ways to meet the needs of our owners through comments left for our board of directors.

As many have said in the past months, we are in this together, and we are better together. We are owners, shoppers, growers, and co-op staff all working together to get through this and build a stronger community.

This article was originally published in the October/November 2020 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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