Shortly after the new year began, the Rooted Carrot Co-op Market received some positive news. The start-up effort to open a community-owned grocery store serving the greater Cedar Valley was aided by a $25,000 grant.
The grant was issued from the Leighty Fund, a donor advised fund at the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. The funds will be used towards the overall goal to raise $2.8 million needed to open the cooperative grocery store, which will focus on healthy, sustainable, and locally-sourced goods and produce. The grant was issued to the Rooted Carrot Co-op Market Fund, a special project fund established with the Community Foundation to support the cooperative effort.
Board president Jodie Huegerich noted the fund advisors were supportive of the environmental benefits of a food co-op. “We’re thrilled with the support through the Community Foundation,” said Huegerich. “Food co-ops have a long history of choosing sustainable products and practices built on long-term environmental outcomes.”
Because food co-ops purchase from an average of 51 local farms and 106 local producers, co-ops offer a significant win-win for the community. First, by reducing the amount of “food miles” – the amount of distance food travels before it reaches the consumer – food co-ops see a decrease in fuel consumption. In addition, the financial benefits are notable as for every $1,000 spent at a food co-op, $1,600 is generated in the local economy.