How The Co-op Model Changed My Perspective on Food

When I started my career in the music industry, we would make it our mission to find a gas station with a hot food bar. Finding a place that had even an apple was hard on the road. At this time, the small venues we would play and even some of the larger venues could care less about purchasing a veggie tray. If we asked for tea, they would drop a box off in the green room, which was nice but kind of difficult to make with no kettle to warm the water.

After a few years of gas station burgers, I had picked up a tour with a new band playing in larger U.S. cities, and some of the band members had very strict dietary needs. When we would arrive in a new city, the lead singer would switch the GPS to point us in the direction of the closest co-op. At that time I didn’t know what the word “co-op” meant. The first co-op I visited was somewhere in Georgia, and I remember the nostalgic feeling of growing up on my grandparent’s farm in central Wisconsin. We headed to the deli and picked up enough food for the next few days and even a fresh juice. Being on tour for years, I had always felt groggy, dehydrated, and weak, but after the first meal from the co-op, I had felt a new feeling of energy. It was that one experience that changed my perspective on the food we eat and the importance of the co-op model.

Fast forward a few years later, I signed up to be an owner at Just Local Food Co-op. When I walk through a conventional grocery store, brands are at the forefront of advertising. When you walk through our co-op stories drive your experience. There is nothing better than walking over to a department and seeing the images of the families and makers who produce your food. Through the passionate staff, each day shopping gave me more information on the local food system and even my personal diet needs. Having a staff that is truly passionate about providing the customer with the best possible quality food and experience is really a special part of the co-op model.

In conclusion, we eat to stay alive. We spend our hard-earned dollars on groceries each week to cook and provide a meal for our friends, family, or self. For me, I found a love in the relationships that are built over a meal. Whether it’s for a special dinner or a quick hot pocket in the microwave, shopping at our local co-op has inspired me to appreciate the details and the process of preparing the thing that keeps us alive. There is a great deal of importance in supporting our local food system, our farmers, and our chefs. I am happy, healthy, and have more information than I did yesterday all because of our local co-ops and farmers.

Post a Comment