Classes are held in the Community Rooms at Willy East and Willy West. Our Community Room classrooms are vibrant, mixed-use spaces that are used for classes, meetings, private rentals, and as an art gallery to showcase local artists.
Taking a Class
We have a wide variety of offerings taught by our own Co-op staff and occasionally other area food and nutrition experts. Prices and topics vary to accommodate a wide variety of skill levels, ages, and incomes. See the listing of current classes available.
Class Policies for Participants
Unless otherwise specified in the description of the event, registration for events that Willy Street Co-op cancels will be refunded in full. Individuals who wish to cancel their registration for events must contact Customer Service with 72 hours notice to receive a full refund. No refunds will be given for cancellations within 72 hours of an event. In order to cover costs incurred, there are absolutely no exceptions to the Refund Policy.
How to Register
Stop by the Customer Service desk to register in person, or you can register over the phone with a credit card by calling Willy East at (608) 251-6776 or Willy West at (608) 284-7800.
Teaching a Class
Willy Street Co-op sponsors events related to nutrition, sustainable agriculture, food preparation, and cooperative education. Classes are planned and scheduled on a trimester timeline and instructors are either hired from internal staff or contracted with externally. If you’re interested in teaching a class, please contact the Education and Outreach Coordinator.
Scheduling a Private Class
Interested in scheduling a private class for a birthday party, team building activity, or bridal shower? Willy Street Co-op’s class instructors are available to teach groups of 5 to 15 people. The cost for a private class is $120 flat fee plus $10 per person for ingredients.
Please fill out the Private Class Request form, and our Education and Outreach Coordinator will respond with more information. Please submit your request at least four weeks in advance.
Ben Becker, Executive Assistant
My goal is to have class participants learn one new strategy that they can use in the future. A take away from class for everyone including myself can also be about a surprising technique or piece of information someone else in the class shares. In those moments we all are able to enjoy learning a new skill or sharing an idea. The people in the class that attend bring a lot to the entire experience. When you bring people together to talk about their daily meal habits it becomes a way to foster community goodwill. In my class “Healthy Eating on a Budget”, I like to educate people about seasonality and how to find and prepare fresh foods year round. If you want fresh tomatoes in December, people need to realize that comes with limitations. When you make food into a commodity you don’t think about the local and seasonal relationship component. This will be become increasingly important as we watch situations like the drought in California. Learning to eat seasonally will become more important for making fiscally/financially important choices.
Another takeaway from class would be strategies for people to use in preparing a meal out of what they already have in their pantry and garden. Personally, I like to share harvest from other people’s gardens because they may grow different items than I do and you might have to be creative in thinking about how to prepare it or create a meal out it. A question I like to ask participants in class is “what would you change if you prepared this at home?” This allows people to bring forth their own preferences and make it into their own. When I’m working with kids and teaching them about gardening I like to dispel the misconception that food comes from the grocery store. If you are a kid growing up in a food desert your relationship with a food item could be buying a bag of potato chips and not knowing where they come from or how they are made. Watching kids grasp new information about what they eat is very satisfying.
Paul Tseng, Deli Cook
Cooking and sharing what I have learned is my passion. Teaching a cooking class gives me a chance to share my knowledge about the differences and uniquenesses of foods that people overlook. I want to show people how to be respectful, creative and economical about food. To feel delighted when they learn an easy cooking technique using just a couple of simple fresh ingredients. The food is the real star, we are just the facilitators.
I want people to leave excited about food and cooking. It’s important to me, being a part of their food journey, and I feel grateful that they spend time with me.
Cooking from scratch should not be a chore, it should be satisfying. People should make it fun, not boring. Make it into a family memory or story or bring back a family tradition. It doesn’t have to be fancy or cost a lot. I feel lucky to have a little stage to share my love of cooking with people and I enjoy seeing their confidence and knowledge grow. People keep coming back and that makes me want to keep giving back. I wish I had more time to do this.
Willy Street Co-op's Exclusive Nutrition Consultant
Katy Wallace, ND CNHP RYT is a Naturopathic Doctor and Certified Natural Health Professional specializing in helping people resolve their health problems by eating better. Our Co-op offers free lecture and individual consultation opportunities in-store to learn how to take full advantage of the variety of natural nourishing foods that the Co-op offers. See our events page for current offerings.
Max Wilke, Produce Buyer
I love to cook and I want to pass that feeling on to other people. It just seems natural for me to want to do that. Personally, food intrigues me and is where my interests lie and where I spend a lot of my time. Transforming the mundane, and the day to day challenges of preparing food into something different and delicious is very enjoyable for me. The culture of food is ever changing and I like seeking out new information and techniques. One of the more interesting things about food is that it’s a necessity to survive and I think that the necessity aspect of food is what interests me. How can I make such a necessity taste good, maybe do something different with it?
I want people to learn the craft of cooking and some of the specific skill sets that make cooking much easier and enjoyable. I know a lot of people follow a recipe and that’s wonderful, but I want people to start thinking about the fundamental skills of cooking and to be able to take whatever they have, or whatever entices them or excites them and turn that into a comfortable dish. Learn how to employ certain methods and skills and apply a certain cooking technique and turn it into something good. Jazz up basic food with flavor all through it using simple techniques that apply across the board. Don’t just methodically dump it in; season it, sauté it in butter jazz it up and then dump it in.
I’m a big fan of simple and moderation. People shouldn’t stress or box themselves in. I grew up on simple good home cooked foods and still cook that way. We are seeing a pushback from the introduction of “Big Ag” convenience foods. Its a natural progression of things with the whole farm to table movement. We can look for something more sustainable. We have access to a lot of food that is convenience oriented—I feel there is a lot of junk food disguised and marketed as healthy foods. That is why it’s important for me to educate and teach about food. Simple and healthy can be convenient and easy by understanding some basic fundamentals and techniques.
Community Room & Private Events
Request a Tour or Outreach Experience
Whether you’d like to come to us or have us come to you, please fill out Tour or Outreach form and our Education and Outreach Coordinator will be in contact with more information. Please submit your request at least four weeks in advance.
Renting the Community Room
The Community Rooms at each store are available for rent by Co-op Owners and organizations. Reservations must be made at least three weeks in advance of the event with the Owner Resources Coordinator at the store where the individual or organization plans to rent space.
Willy Street Co-op supports providing opportunities for the Artists to display their work in the Community Rooms free of charge. Artwork must be nondiscriminatory and suitable for all ages. Artists may be Owners or the Co-op staff, or come from nonprofits, schools, and other cooperatives and collectives. Proposals for use of the Gallery should be submitted two months in advance of exhibit opening and will be reviewed and approved upon a first come first-served basis. Exhibits will last for eight (8) weeks. Due to the mixed use of the room, art pieces that do not mount flat to the wall or are three dimensional in nature are not recommended. All art will be approved on a case-by-case basis.
Contact our Education and Outreach Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.