The Co-op has been sponsoring a number of great events lately, and I for one have been really excited about all of them! The Annual Meeting & Party was a blast, the DIY Fair that the Co-op hosted in the front courtyard was amazing, and the very first Co-op-sponsored Eat Local Challenge is happening right now through the middle of this month. There definitely is a LOT going on.
I am particularly thrilled about participating in the Eat Local Challenge. This month-long initiative encourages patronage of local farmers and consumption of local products. Anyone was eligible to sign up (and information is still available online, though registration is now closed) and upon joining received a packet of information, coupons, a food journal and other local food related goodies. Though the Eat Local Challenge is entirely self-motivated (there are no check-ins or reports required, no one checking to see if that apple you’re munching is really from Wisconsin), there will be a number of community events celebrating and supporting participants this month. Go to www.willystreet.coop/elc for more information!
My family is participating in the challenge, and while we are all very excited, I’m not quite sure how it will all work out. After all, our family includes two children under the age of five whose diets sometimes seem to consist primarily of bananas, PB&J sandwiches and Annie’s Mac n’ Cheese. Keeping this in mind, we chose the “Relaxed Locavore” level, which means trying to make at least half of all our meals from local ingredients or locally prepared products. I’ve been going through our favorite recipes, seeing what ingredients are available locally and what substitutions we can make. It will be fun to write everything down in the journal and see how we’ve done at the end!
And really, that’s the point isn’t it? Looking at what we’re eating, paying attention to where it comes from and considering the impact of our food choices. Getting people thinking and talking. So check out the blogs on the Co-op’s website www.willystreet.coop to see photos, recipes, questions, etc. and get updates on the 2010 Eat Local Challenge. A Facebook group has also been created—just look for Willy Street Co-op’s Eat Local Challenge. There are lots of suggestions for where to find various local foods, good substitutions for unavailable items, and general discussion.
In other exciting news, the Willy Street Co-op’s Board of Directors has formed a Strategic Planning Committee, which has been hard at work planning to collect input from our Owners, staff and community allies to consider how we might assist or create opportunities for greater food access in our community into the future. To this end we passed out a short survey at the Annual Meeting, asking where Owners saw the Co-op in 15 years. If you didn’t have an opportunity to give feedback at the Annual Meeting & Party, consider doing so now. We’d love to hear from you. Here are the questions:
- This year we are celebrating the Co-op’s 35th birthday, but imagine that this is 2025 and we are celebrating the Co-op’s 50th birthday; what accomplishments or milestones are we celebrating?
- Based on your first answer, what organizations and/or individuals would you recommend the Co-op partner with to achieve these accomplishments or milestones?
Some suggestions we have received include opening an educational farm, expanding into the restaurant business, starting a mobile grocery/produce market, creating a regional cooperative warehouse... and many more! When answering, feel free to think big and vision “outside the box.” Please direct your answers and any questions to Lynn Olson at: .
September also marks the last Board meeting with our currently seated Board. New Board members officially begin their terms at the October Board meeting. On behalf of all the Board, I want to say a sincere thank you to our outgoing Board members. Your dedication, insight and love for this organization have been reflected in your work here on the Board. A special send off to Doug Johnson, who has been on the Board for so many years, we’ve actually lost count! We do know that Doug has served on the Board for over 20 years. For decades of service, a huge and resounding THANK YOU!!!
To our new Board members— George Hofheimer, Michele Dickinson, and Sonia Marie Kubica—welcome!