July of 2011, launched the latest initiative to open a Food Cooperative in Oshkosh. The need for more local and natural foods has been buzzing around the community for quite some time. All it took was getting the people with passion for helping the community in the same room. One person reached out to another, and soon enough a steering committee was born. The 1970’s brought about a large push for coops across the country and Oshkosh, like most towns, opened a small volunteer run co-op. With little backing from the entire community and with out enough funds to sustain itself, the store fizzled out after a few years. However, that enthusiasm is still alive in Oshkosh and many people are saying, “Oshkosh is ready for this.” With nearly 1,000 followers in one year on our social media outlet, we had a staggering amount of support behind our effort before any membership was taken.
The support behind local and sustainable food options is only growing, as we have seen with the growth and support of the Farmer’s Market, that just recently expanded to a year-round endeavor. The public is understanding the importance of eating whole, clean foods from an honest source. Having a farmer look you in the eye as they sell you their food, assures you the pride they have in producing it for us all. The same idea applies to the Food Co-op, essentially year round, daily access to farm fresh foods as well as all the full service goods you find at a conventional grocer. The future really is in local foods, and we are excited to head up the movement in our home town.
A co-op is much more than just about the food, too. It is about growing community and opening up a space where we can get together and share experiences, information, and culture. Our vision for the co-op involves education on cooking, knowing who your farmer is, sharing skills, taking trips together to meet farmers, community events and gatherings, movie showings, cook offs, working with food pantries on ways to improve food justice, and the list goes on. Whatever your idea of YOUR co-op is, we want to hear it. We want to build a vision together so that it reflects our talents and desires. We want to maximize on the diversity and uniqueness of individuality to work as a resilient network of people coming together to improve our lives.
Please feel free to reach out and tell us who you are and share you story about what a co-op means to you, so that we can get to know one another!