What I’m Grateful For at our Co-op
On any given day in the past eight months, it has felt easy to focus on being overwhelmed. Early in November, I saw a friend’s social media post about making November a month of gratitude. I decided to try one small way to incorporate gratitude into my day, especially since the repetitive, routine family dinners at my house could use a positive distraction. I cut a bunch of strips of construction paper and set them in a jar in the middle of the table. Each night we take a turn sharing something we are grateful for, write it on the strip, and then add it to a paper chain that is hanging on a nearby window. While it sounds Pinterest-perfect, I’ll admit that some nights it is hard to come up with something new and genuine, and sometimes my kids do not want to participate. Other nights, we have a really meaningful conversation about what we are thankful for.
Today, and every day, I am grateful that our community supports Menomonie Market Food Co-op. We are fortunate to have a thriving cooperative that strengthens our local food system and creates local access to healthy food. Menomonie Market is more than a grocery store. You might be familiar with some of the co-op’s community giving programs:
• Food Rescue is the practice of gleaning edible foods from the store that would otherwise go to waste and distributing it to local emergency food programs, such as Stepping Stones.
• Hill O’ Beans is a waste reduction program that raises money for local charities or community organizations.
• Fund Our Foodshed Grant is a grant program that aims to support the growth of farming, food processing, and product development in the Chippewa Valley.
• Double Dollars is a nutrition incentive program developed to help FoodShare users purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables.
• Donations are made to local organizations, and are encouraged as long as the purpose or event for which it is requested is non-partisan, non-electoral, and enriches the community.
• Sponsorships and Outreach support many community organizations through free event presentations, free store tours, discounted classroom rental rates for non-profits, and more!
Consider your local food cooperative as a connection to our community. Your ownership and support are meaningful ways to support your neighbors, local farmers, the environment, and your well-being.
While writing this article, I asked my 7-year old daughter if she was thankful for anything at the co-op. Despite the fact that her time inside the co-op has been fairly limited this year, she said, “The people who work there. Because they are always so friendly. And because we support local farmers by shopping there.” Apparently, she listens to my explanation about why we shop at the “little store” in town!
What are you grateful for today? Today my 5-year old son said he’s grateful for deer. If it’s one of those days where it’s hard to shake off the weight of current events, think like a 5-year old and enjoy something simple!
For this Thanksgiving, my husband and I plan to cook a small and easy meal. Our kids do not really like most of the traditional Thanksgiving foods! We won’t spend the whole day cooking, but I will try to make it fun and festive in small ways. For example, we will cook a locally grown turkey and mashed potatoes. I’ll let my 7-year old daughter pick out a dessert to help bake (the kids don’t even like pumpkin pie!). We’ll use whipping cream in a mason jar and have my 5-year old son shake and roll it to make homemade butter. And we will use fresh cranberries and oranges to make my late grandmother’s fresh cranberry sauce, the recipe for which I’ve included below.
Susan's Grandmother's Cranberry Sauce Recipe
3 C Fresh Cranberries
½ C Sugar
Glass Jar with Cover
Spoon or Spatula
Quarter and peel all but one quarter of orange. Squeeze some orange juice into a blender. Make sauce by adding the orange quarters, sugar, and cranberries and blending well until finely chopped. Spoon sauce into a glass jar, cover, and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend.
Find the Ingredients & Tools You’ll Need for This Recipe In-Store & Online