“Local food has become a trend word that doesn’t have the meaning people expect,” Tracy said with passion. Organic farmer Tracy Vinz explains the misconceptions facing the producers of local food and the consumers that want to buy local fresh food. Over time, the desire to eat local food has flourished, but the definition behind what makes a food “local” has become less defined.
The general idea of eating locally is based on the following ideas: Eating food that was grown and/or produced within 100 miles of where you live.
- Purchasing food directly from local growers firsthand
- Buying food from local farm stands/markets
- Growing, hunting, fishing your own food
With the trend growing, an even broader idea of local eating often includes:
- Food grow in your region
- Food grown in your country
Tracy and her husband Richard are the proud owners of Olden Organics, a 100 acre certified organic fresh produce farm with a four generation history. The farm is in its 14th growing season season and 3rd year processing a line of raw vegetables in the processing facility on site.
Olden Organics has thousands of local customers, including schools, restaurants and even the Green Bay Packers. You can find Olden Organics at many local farmers markets, you can come out to the farm to purchase fresh food, but what local shoppers can’t do, is find and purchase their products in local grocery stores every day. The closest grocery stores that carry their products are in Appleton, Madison and Milwaukee.
“My commitment is to my customers, who are my friends and neighbors.”
“Most grocery stores operate on big margins based on high volume contracts that make it impossible for local farmers to compete. They also enter into contracts that cover exclusivity in product lines that make it challenging for local producers to get a single product on the shelves,” Tracy shared, “My commitment is to my customers, who are my friends and neighbors. That’s why I think it’s so important to have a food co-op in Oshkosh. It’s a different business model that is built around offering local foods that are that stronger definition of local.”
Large grocery chains offer bulk items with fewer quality control measures, co-ops alternatively “keep things local” by sourcing local, fresh, organic foods and products from producers in the area. This not only benefits local farmers; it also gives community members ownership and decisions in the kinds of foods their families eat. Community ownership, knowledgeable employees, and strong farm-to-store relationships are just a few factors that showcase the co-op difference!
Co-op members will have the opportunity to be a part of the upcoming member loan campaign, a community investment that pays dividends and allows members to keep their investment dollars local.
Become a member of your Oshkosh Food Co-op today and rest assured that your purchases are making your family, community, and planet healthier and stronger!