First Annual Member-Owner Meeting a Success

On Tuesday November 10th, the Cedar Falls Food Co-op’s Board of Directors held its first ever annual member meeting.

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Eager anticipation filled the room as President of the Board, Tom Wickersham, greeted all of the attendees and kicked off the meeting with board member introductions. Member of the board, Erica Graen, presented a recap of the Co-op’s events, community involvements, presentations, local business partnerships, membership drives and achievements this past year. It’s been a fun and busy year!

Treasurer of the Board, Kristel McClenahan, presented the financial report as well. Revenues look strong and thus far, operating on budget. 

Membership Committee member Brenna Griffin shared ways to talk to friends about the Co-op and introduced our newest member incentive program. Please make sure to like and follow our Facebook page on a frequent basis so as not to miss all of the wonderful talents that our board and committee members have creatively put together to share with new members that join online.

Members had the chance to participate by voting for our first-ever board member elections. The meeting also held an open forum for questions from members in attendance such as when the co-op will open, where will it be located and how we can help grow membership. Based on our current membership numbers, the co-op is nearly through phase one of our three phase timeline. Currently, we have more than 260 members. If each of us invited and encouraged 2 or 3 friends to join the co-op, we’d be at the final phase and preparing to open the doors of the Cedar Falls Food Co-op much sooner!

The evening ended with the unofficial count for the votes and introduction of our newly elected board members, Jess Cruz, Brenna Griffin and Sheri Huber-Otting, plus the the drawing of the winner of the Winter Getaway Give-Away. Congratulations to new CFFC member, Cindy Miller…have fun at the Big Woods Lake Cabin!

Thanks to everyone who has made 2015 a great year for community-building in Cedar Falls! Let’s keep the momentum going!

Member Spotlight: Vanessa Kruger

Homesteader Vanessa Kruger believes in strengthening her local economy and knowing where her food comes from. That is why she shopped at Wheatsfield Co-op when she lived in Ames and why she’s excited to be a founding member of the Cedar Falls Food Co-op.  It’s also why she raises most of her own meat and vegetables. Check out her cute baby dairy goats, which she raises in addition to gardening and raising hogs and poultry!

If you’re wondering how homesteading is working out for Vanessa, just ask her about the Thanksgiving meal prepared. “It was entirely homegrown,” she explained. She raised not only her Thanksgiving turkey, but supplemented it with potatoes, glazed carrots, a squash and sausage stuffing , and apple and pumpkin pies. Sound like a lot of work? “I loved doing it, I was so pleased with how it turned out!”

If you’re in awe of Vanessa’s expertise, it’s something she’d love to share. She says that while she’s still new to the community she’d love to offer classes on subjects such as cheese and soap making, lard rendering, canning or gardening.

Vanessa Kruger

Host a Membership Party, Win a New Bed Set from Foster’s Mattress


Are you a co-op member? Are you in need of new mattress and box springs? If so, help recruit families to join the Cedar Falls Food Co-op by hosting a house party. This is an event in which you invite friends, family, co-workers, and other acquaintances to learn more about the benefits of membership in the Cedar Falls Food Co-op. As an incentive, our business partner Foster’s Mattress has donated a new Serta Perfect Sleeper Queen Euro Top (retail value is $1300) which includes the mattress and box springs. Every time you host a house party you are entered into a drawing to win this bed set.

What is a house party? It is basically anything you wish it to be. It can be as simple as hosting a potluck meal, inviting friends over to watch a food-related documentary, or going out for a snowshoe or cross-country ski excursion and coming back to your house for hot chocolate and chili. The sky is the limit on what you can do. The only stipulations are that you are a current member, you invite at least some people who are not yet members, and you invite a co-op board or committee member to stop in to help you talk about the Co-op and answer any questions your guests have. By providing us with your guest list and a brief description of the event, you will be entered into the drawing if you have hosted your party between December 1 and February 29.

As we march toward our goal of acquiring at least 1,000 members before we open the store, you as a co-op member will help us get there. These house parties are a proven way to encourage others you know to join our efforts. We even have a house party packet to make it easy for you. If you have any questions or this has inspired you to go to your calendar to pick a date, contact the Co-op at


From the Board President: Welcome New Board Members


The Co-op membership has spoken. The Cedar Falls Food Co-op’s first Board elections went off without a hitch. Thanks to all who helped make the elections run smoothly, especially Judy Schindel, CPA, who served as our election official. Special thanks, too, to everyone who stepped up to run for the Board. We couldn’t do it without your willingness to serve!

Selected to serve three year terms are Jess Cruz, Brenna Griffin and Sheri Huber-Otting. All three Board members have been involved for many years on Co-op committees, so they bring a wealth of experience to their new leadership roles on the Board. Please join me in welcoming them to the Board! Also, many thanks to outgoing Board members Erica Graen, Julie Halevan, and Steve Hoodjer. We’ll be sad to see them step down, but good news…all three will continue to help with the Co-op effort by working with the Co-op’s committees. Leave a comment to let them know how much you appreciate their leadership since the very first Steering Committee was formed nearly three years ago.

Over the past year I’ve written about a number of the 7 Cooperative Principles. Seeing as we’ve completed our first ever Board election, it’s a good time to talk about P2: Democratic Governance. I feel the value of democratic governance is self-evident. Of course we’d all prefer to have a say in the businesses we frequent. Considering that we shop grocery stores approximately 1.6 times per week, having a say in how our local grocery store runs its operations would be a great value to us.

I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the remaining six Board members, including myself. The CFFC is committed to ensuring that all Board members are democratically elected. Over time, each of your Board members will be elected members. But this will take a few years as we transition from a steering committee to a fully-elected Board of Directors. Here’s how this will work: Each year, three of the nine seats will be up for election for three-year terms. This year marked the first set of Board members elected to serve. Next year, we’ll have three more transition on, and then in 2017, Co-op members will elect the final set of three Board members. 

The Co-op’s bylaws allowed for this sort of gradual transition from willing volunteers to willing volunteers who were elected to serve. We feel this was a great solution as we shift from an idea to a business run by and for its members. Democratic governance is a great principal for the Co-op! 

In cooperation,

Tom Wickersham

“Small and Strong” Food Co-op Conference Recap

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Four representatives of the Cedar Falls Food Co-op attended the “SMALL AND STRONG” Food Co-op Conference in Bloomington, MN, on November 7, 2015.  We learned from industry experts with organizations like Food Co-op Initiative, Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund, and CDS Consulting Co-op and networked with other Midwest food co-ops.  With topics like Financing the Startup Co-op and Designing an Effective Member Recruitment Campaign, we all returned with many new take-aways, but also with much reinforcement and encouragement.

For starters, we’re not in this alone: just in the Midwest, there are plenty of opportunities to collaborate with food co-ops that are in startup mode, as well as great consultants who make helping co-ops their life’s work.  We are making a difference for our community; a co-op strengthens the entire community and is a source of pride.  And while much of the funding for a food co-op comes from its member-owners, ownership is more than just capital. It’s a pledge of support and an important source of leverage.

We thank the Northcountry Cooperative Foundation and the other conference presenters and sponsors for this opportunity to connect and learn with other co-op folks in our region.  We look forward to attending again next year!

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Crock Pot Apple Butter


Crock Pot Apple Butter

8 cups peeled and sliced apples -sweet varieties will make it sweeter of course (*apple peelers/corers/slicers are a good investment when doing big batches)

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/4 c. organic sugar (less or none if you want it less sweet, the apples are already sweet)

Put apples, spices, and sugar in crockpot with lid and turn it on high for 3-4 hours or until the apples soften. Use a smasher, immersion blender, or regular blender to purify the apples to a consistency you like. Put the mix back in the crock pot with the lid off and cook for 8-12 hours on low. You can do it on a stovetop in a large pan quicker if you want to stir more so it doesn’t burn to the bottom. The idea is to evaporate as  much moisture as you can, the longer its on the thicker it will get. When it’s ready, you can eat it, refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks, or *can it. 

*Apple peelers/corers/slicers >—clamp.html

*For canning instructions refer to a site such as this: