From the Coordinator: September 2018

Willy Street Co-op (Madison, WI)


Have you heard of the local foods movement? Why is this a nationwide phenomenon? There is more demand than ever to know where our food is coming from and more people are deciding to vote with their pocketbooks, and in this case, really putting their money where their mouths are. The Cedar Falls Food Co-op is committed to providing locally sourced products on our shelves once our store is open. Since our store will be a one-stop-shop model (meaning that you can find your grocery needs all in one store), we will also have products from further afield, but we will source locally whenever possible.Continue reading

From the Coordinator: August 2018

Quick Quiz: Can You Name the Seven Cooperative Principles? Why are they so important?

The seven cooperative principles are what sets a cooperative business apart from other businesses. Many of us ensconced in the day-to-day work it takes to get our community-owned grocery store here live these principles, but we need to ensure that all of you, our readership, have a solid grasp of this unique foundation that creates one of the best business models available.


So, why are these principles so important? Co-ops must abide by them ultimately creating businesses that are honest, just, transparent, behave with integrity, and remain accountable in every way to one another and the community they serve.Continue reading

From the Coordinator: July 2018

Wow! This community really wants a food co-op. Here are just some of the ways we worked together for another record-breaking June, getting us closer to opening the doors…



There was a virtual revolving door at 250 State Street at a co-op party hosted by member-owners Jim and LeAnne Sprau. The buzz over the future food co-op around downtown Cedar Falls was electric. “Sign me up!” became the mantra that evening, which ended with 9 new member-owners! Huge thanks to Jim and LeAnne as well as other house-party hosts in June: Dianna LaPole Geiger, Glenn Keith and Michelle Jungers, and Ethan Wiechmann. More member-hosted gatherings, which are a great way to introduce new people to the Co-op, are in the works – let me know if you have an event planned or want help planning one.

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From the Coordinator – June 2018

Save money today through store and other business discounts: Your $200 member-owner investment comes back to you and then some when you take advantage of our Business Partner Specials.


This is the number of area businesses offering deals and discounts to Co-op member-owners, so don’t forget to carry your member-owner card. From New Dawn Yoga in Cedar Falls to the Shinehouse in Evansdale to Wild Carrot in Waverly to Jameson’s in Waterloo, businesses throughout the Cedar Valley partner with the Cedar Falls Food Co-op in this important way.


Member-owners who are already taking advantage of these business partner deals often marvel that they have gained back most of their member share cost with the money they’ve saved at these establishments. I’ve certainly done so via classes at Three Pines Farm, my free sheet set from Fosters Mattress, many trips to Cottonwood Canyon, Cup of Joe, and Sidecar for my coffee fix, dining out at various business partners including Ginger Thai and SingleSpeed, grabbing a brew with friends at Lark or Second State, getting running shoes at the Runner’s Flat, and purchasing gifts at Miss Wonderful, Mohair Pear and Purse-N-ality. My list of savings goes on, but you get the point.

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From The Outreach Coordinator: February 2018

On January 31st, we experienced a unique lunar phenomenon termed a super blue blood moon. Try to say that 10 times fast! What does it mean? Well, there was a lunar eclipse (blood moon) during a blue moon (the second full moon in the same month) at the same time as a super moon (when the full moon is at its closest proximity to earth). Incredible!


Whatever you believe about moon energy, I imagine you feel some sense of awe when gazing at the moon, and perhaps if you saw this phenomenon that feeling was intensified. This is what I’m feeling about the Co-op right now – an amplified sense of awe and wonder.

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Happy 2018! from your Outreach Coordinator

Time and Talent
When we open our doors we will employ many people; but to get to that stage, we rely on volunteers every step of the way. You may be aware of the earlier “working member” co-op model where member-owners provided volunteer hours to their co-op or, in some cases, were required to do so. This model is not used with new co-ops; instead we will hire employees who receive competitive wages and benefits. However, until we can start hiring, we rely mainly on volunteers. Now is the time volunteers are most needed to get our doors open. Our development efforts are sustained by enthusiastic volunteers who put in countless hours of time and talent. In 2017, dozens of individual volunteers gave more than 3000 hours of their combined time. They are the reason we are so far along in our growth – kudos to them! If you wish to join in volunteering this year, please contact me.

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From the Outreach Coordinator: October 2017

The energy was palpable on Tuesday night as more than two dozen volunteers cheerfully set up for the 4th annual Fall Food Fest. Then local growers and producers began showing up with goodies to share. Doors opened, the music started, and people of all ages began streaming in. With local food samples from apples (Blueridge Orchard) and tomatoes (Kaiser Farms), to yogurt (Country View Dairy) and cheese (Hansen’s Dairy), to pork (Joia Food Farm) and Thai food (Chotto House/Ginger Thai), to pie (the Pie Lady) and spice demonstrations (Luann Alemao and Assoc./Frontier Co-op), to microgreens (CC Greens) and corn (Kerns Homegrown and Fitkin Popcorn), guests had plenty of opportunities to taste as well as talk to local producers and business people about their quality products. Good Neighbor and the UNI Local Foods Program also added to the education that evening. Children greeted (or sometimes hid from) Rooty the Co-op Carrot while waiting in line to have their faces painted (thanks, Hearst Center!). The musical duo, Fuzzy Logic, entertained the crowd. Lucky attendees walked away with fabulous door prizes including gift cards from many of the Co-op’s business partners plus knife sets from Rada Cutlery. Candidates in the upcoming Board elections mingled with guests, and people stopped by the membership table to pick up their Co-op bags, buy a T-shirt or sign up to become a member-owner. This year, two food trucks (La Calle and Kubo) added to the ambience by offering more delectable local treats outdoors. When the fun concluded, the volunteers who stayed after to clean up basked in the glow of what good community embodies.Continue reading

From the Outreach Coordinator: Local businesses are key to the success of our Co-op!

Concern for community, cooperative principle 7, is something we live as a co-op daily. This is embodied through our numerous connections with local businesses. While we often tout the over 60 different businesses who are providing discounts to card-carrying Co-op member-owners, their support goes well beyond this perk. In my time with the Co-op, I have been overwhelmed with the generosity of our local business community.

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August Outreach Coordinator Update

The room was charged with positive energy at last month’s membership and communications joint committee meeting. We were excited to discuss the amazing membership growth we experienced in the month of June – our biggest month yet with 78 new member-owners! In July, new member-owners continued to join at a rapid pace, and I am thrilled to see the Co-op turn this important corner in its development!

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The Co-op’s New Outreach Coordinator: Melanie Drake


The Cedar Falls Food Co-op is pleased to announce that Melanie Drake has accepted the position of Outreach Coordinator. She will work with new and potential members to help the Cedar Falls Food Co-op move closer to realizing a new store.  The hiring committee interviewed a number of fantastic candidates but felt that Melanie was the best fit for the position.

“I’m thrilled to be in the position of the Outreach Coordinator for the Cedar Falls Food Co-op,” said Melanie. “My husband and I moved to Cedar Falls four years ago because of the community. I had no idea at that time that I would be so involved in the efforts to start a food co-op in the Cedar Valley region. It has been an amazing journey so far with so many dedicated community members who have given countless hours to this endeavor.

“We will have a food co-op in Cedar Falls. While I know we all want this tomorrow, we are taking the time to be intentional about the process and make sure we cover all of the necessary steps to have a sustainable co-op for generations to come.  If there is one thing you take away from this message, let it be the following – when I or others reach out to you to assist with Co-op activities, please always respond to us, even if the answer is, “no.” We would much rather hear from you and know you remain committed to our efforts, even if you cannot assist at that time, then hear nothing from you at all. Thanks to all who have provided support so far and thanks in advance to everyone who will be giving their time and talent for our future efforts.”

By accepting the position, Melanie has stepped down from the Co-op’s Board of Directors. The Board will be appointing a new member to fill her vacancy. Please join us in welcoming Melanie in her new role!