How Menomonie Market Is Building a Thriving, Healthy Community
“Menomonie Market Food Co-op will be central to thriving, healthy communities.”
So begins the Menomonie Market Food Co-op Ends Statement, which explains why our co-op exists and what purposes drive the decisions the board and management make. At every monthly board meeting, we recite the full Ends Statement to align our thoughts and remember the mission of our co-op.
I realize by the time these words are printed, we will have passed through another election. Many will be pleased with the outcome, while others may be disappointed or even angry. I believe that despite the political divides in our society, we can look to the future with hope and with gratitude.
Our owners have shown themselves to be sacrificial and visionary as they have stepped forward to support the expansion of local food access through our planned new store in downtown Eau Claire. We all face uncertain times. Nevertheless, ground has been broken on our project, which will serve an area that is considered to be a food desert.
Menomonie Market Food Co-op is made up of people who have common goals, but we may not share the same political parties or views. Instead, we come together around core values such as great food, support for local farmers, dignified employment, and land stewardship.
Thriving, healthy communities suggest something beyond even those basic ideals. Building community takes more work. For me, it may mean reaching out, asking someone in, extending myself, sharing what I have, or considering another opinion and listening. Community means caring for the vulnerable, offering fellowship, and fostering the future. It means we have a place and a purpose.
Recently, the Dunn County Ideal 4-H Club has begun meeting at the co-op’s Menomonie location. As these 4-H kids and their families pass through our store, will they be most struck by the friendly faces at checkout, the beautiful apples in our Produce Department, the fragrant soaps in Wellness, or by the amazing volunteers who kindly give of their time and expertise to show, guide, teach, and listen?
My hope is that anyone who passes through the doors of one of Menomonie Market Food Co-op’s stores becomes filled with the sense that we have a thriving, healthy community here, that everyone is welcome to shop here, and that we are stronger together.
If you have youth interested in 4-H or talents to share with young people to bring about a healthy community in this way, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published in the November/December 2022 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.