LOOKING FOR: student and youth organizations looking to fill volunteer hours

The Elk River Area Food Co-op has a busy spring and summer planned and are looking to collaborate with student volunteers and youth organizations. This is a great opportunity for the youth of our community to get involved, connect and grow their interpersonal communication skills!

Students and organizations will assist the co-op at parades and other events throughout the season. We are also looking for those interested in helping build awareness of the co-op through marketing efforts including but not limited to hanging community flyers, distributing food co-op yard signs, etc. Hours are flexible with no minimum commitment necessary! 
[Please share this message with your network.]

Please fill out the short form provided below or directly reach out to the elkriverfoodcoop@gmail.com.

Contact Phone Number
Contact Phone Number

Volunteer Recruitment Event [RECAP]

On Saturday, March 24th we invited the community out to hear about the Elk River Area Food Co-op and to promote volunteer opportunities available to help us grow.

  • We had 25+ people come out and enjoy the conversation and great food!
  • 10!!! NEW MEMBERS SIGNED UP
  • Potluck style with donations from Diamond City Bread and our partners at Pettit Pastures (co-op members receive 5% off pasture raised pork, beef and chicken) 
  • If you missed the event but would like to get involved please fill out our Volunteer Application and we will contact you with opportunities that fill your interest

As always, keep spreading the word! We could not do this without our community and we are so thankful for all the support and are overjoyed by the passion that was shown this weekend.

Lets double our member numbers so we can start looking for locations!

Up & Coming Co-op Conference Recap

 

We just got back from an amazing, insightful, energizing weekend spent in Milwaukee, WI at the Up & Coming Food Co-op Conference.

Up & Coming is a Conference that educates start-up food co-op's through workshops, open discussions and consulting work. It is a huge resource center to learn how we can better serve our community in order to provide the healthiest, cleanest food options. 

Here are the main messages we would like to share:

  • Vision: We were reminded how important Vision is in the process of opening a community-owned grocery store. We were asked to reflect on WHY we are putting in all this time and effort - and this is what we came up with. We want to create a space for neighbors and friends to come together, learn from each other and build a healthy, sustainable future for generations to come.
    • We are doing this by supporting local agriculture and creating an avenue for small-town farmers to provide their products.
    • We are doing this through our community education classes in order to build safe space to discover new ways of being and consuming.
    • We are doing this through outreach by providing updates and news to our community.
       
  • Democratically Owned: Co-op's are special because they are owned and operated by the people who use their services. 
    • BECOME A MEMBER - we can't stress this enough. Without members the co-op will never open.
    • As an owner you have a say in all the big decisions: where will we be located, what will we provide?
    • There is no hierarchy with the corporate business leader on top and all others below.
    • The money you spend stays in your community, strengthens your local economy
       
  • Community Driven: Again, co-op's are for the community. With that said, we need the communities help to build awareness and increase our membership numbers. We can not open our doors without a strong, loyal membership base that is willing to invest their time and money into developing the grocery store.
    • Get Involved: We need passionate people who care about health and wellness and are willing to volunteer their time and expertise.

 

We believe that healthy food means healthy communities and want to provide the space to cultivate a cohesive, trusted grocery store providing trustworthy, clean food. If you believe in our Vision, get involved today!

February 2018 Monthly Board Meeting Notes

the-month-february.jpg

Elk River Area Food Co-op Development Meeting

Date: February 19, 2018
Time: 6:30p to 8:30p
Location: Down stairs meeting room Eagles Club
Meeting: 57

Attendees: Annie, Kari, Maria, Liz F, Liz T, Anna, Christina, and Alyssa 


Treasures Report:

  • $2000 purchase on card???
  • Liz T look into and send to board
  • Still looking to fill treasures position
  • Annie will call candidate
  • Need to be in it for long haul, banking info all changed over

Membership Approval:

  • 317 owners 😊
  • Anna will host house party in March will get in touch with Christina after her trip next week

Marketing Update:

  • Old Main Eatery
    3-inch circle
    Main message: support local, community owned
    Advertise for two years
    Alyssa make drafts and email out
    QR code (scan code) - link to website
     
  • Welcome email series for online signups
  • 5 days of emails (our story, partners, FAQ’s, etc)
  • Do tutorial for FB to be more effective
  • Use mail chimp more than FB
  • Landing page for website
  • Few links to guide
  • Need new flyers and make flyers for volunteer recruitment
  • First week of March YMCA lunch and learn - March 7th 11:30am
  • Main Focus for month recruitment for volunteers and board members along with FB live

Volunteer Recruitment:

  • Recruitment open to ALL volunteers
  • Looking for a board member and fill treasurer position
  • March 24th 11a to 1p Volunteer Recruitment and ER Library

Committee Reports:

  • Education and Outreach: Liz F and Anna
    Met with Alyssa
    Still need to get together for work plan
    Free classes just to educate (different crowd of people)
    Co-op pay instructor
    Last 4 said they would do for free
    Try remainder of class year (giving back)
    Sign up with partners at the event (get email list for all of our partners)
    Play games at events (Bingo, true or false ?’s)
     
  • Membership: Christina and Kari
    Finished work plan
    Need to meet with Alyssa
     
  • Operations: Annie and Maria
    Need to back up membership list
    $30 usb 128 gigs
    Clean up google docs
    Alyssa bring files to Up and Coming (Maria upload)
    Adding to live binder
    Finance tab empty
    Tax ID, we are C- corporation
    Make google doc for volunteer recruitment
    Healthy Eating Tuesday, February 20th 6p to 7p at ER library
     
  • Finance: need to get this committee going ASAP


Retreat Follow up and Strategic plan:

  • Currently in stage 2 (finished stage 1 last year)
    Stage 2A feasibility 450 owners (more realistic goal)
    Financial
    Revise business plan
    Seeing what we need (people)
    Get all work plans together

Board Policies:

Sign agreement next meeting
Annie sent email
Read and let know of any changes

Facebook Live:
Postponed

Update Google Docs Calendar:
Liz F update
Everyone have access
Email event to Liz F and she will add to calendar

Up and Coming Co-op Conference:

Alyssa and Maria going
Alyssa send info to Liz T for reimbursement
Paid for by grant
Need to budget can and one or two meals

March 19th next board meeting at Elk River Golf Course

 

Star News: Elk River Food Co-op Seeks to Grow Its Volunteer Base (2018)

Elk River Area Food Co-op Star News

Elk River Food Co-op Seeks to Grow Its Volunteer Base

Mar 8, 2018
by Joni Astrup
Associate Editor

Original Story

The Elk River Area Food Co-op will host a volunteer recruitment event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 24.

The event will be held at the Elk River Library, 13020 Orono Parkway.

“We are growing so much, we need extra help,” said Alyssa Johnson, the co-op’s marketing and outreach coordinator.

There are openings on four new committees: membership, finance, education and operations, and there will soon be an opening on the co-op’s board of directors.

Volunteers are also needed to staff a co-op booth at the Elk River farmers market and to help at other co-op summer events. General volunteer help is needed as well.

Johnson said the volunteer recruitment event will include an explanation of the co-op’s mission and vision and a chance for people to get their questions about the co-op answered. Snacks and beverages will be served, some of which are being donated by the co-op’s partners.

The co-op has 17 local partners offering products such as honey, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, micro greens, therapeutic massage and handmade soap. All of the partners give discounts to Elk River Area Food Co-op members.

The Elk River Area Food Co-op is a start-up, member-owned, community grocery store dedicated to providing access to high quality, local, natural and organic food at a fair price, supporting local farmers, and contributing economically to the community.

The co-op’s membership has grown to 320. Johnson said the goal is to have 600 members to begin looking at locations for a retail store.

For more information, go to www.erafoodcoop.com. People interested in becoming a co-op volunteer are encouraged to fill out an application online, though it is not required.

To reach the co-op, email elkriverfoodcoop@gmail.com.

Committee Member Application

The Elk River Area Food Co-op is growing fast and we need all the extra hands and help we can get! If you are passionate about bringing fresh, local food to your dinner table, get involved with the Elk River Area Food Co-op.

We are looking for Community Members who are wiling to donate 1-5 hours per month plus attend one monthly committee meeting. We are encouraging any and all dedicated individuals to apply, regardless of skills or expertise - there is room for all backgrounds, trades and personalities!

If you believe in supporting local agriculture and desire the healthiest food the Elk River Area has to offer, then get involved with your local food co-op and help us open our doors!


COMMITTEE PURPOSE & AUTHORITY:


The general purpose of all committees is to assist the Board of Directors in filling its responsibilities to the membership. Committee members play a supportive role to the board by doing research, gathering information, tabulating data, making comparisons, determining cost options, and presenting recommendations to the board. 
 


COMMITTEE OUTLINES

  • Membership: The Membership Committee is responsible for promoting ownership in the co-op and is held accountable to achieve membership growth targets.
    This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Welcoming new members
    • Coordinating volunteers
    • Scheduling house parties
    • Implementing membership campaigns
    • Establishing membership connections.
       
  • Outreach Committee: The Outreach Committee is in charge of building awareness and visibility in the community and promotes/educates the importance and value of having a food co-op. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Scheduling events and classes
    • Building community connections (establishing partnerships, exploring networking opportunities, etc.)
    • Community awareness and education (Implementing Meet & Greets, hosting farmers market booth, managing Facebook Live Conference Calls, etc.)
       
  • Finance Committee: The Finance Committee provides oversight to the financial operations of the Co-op.
    This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Economic development
    • Member capital campaign and funding
    • Grant research and exploration
    • Financial analysis, etc.
       
  • Operations Committee: The Operations Committee provides leadership development, creates board policies, structure and systems of accountability to ensure proper business planning and strategic direction.
    This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Building and maintaining timelines and work plans
    • Developing training and leadership for board
    • Creation of policies and systems
    • Business planning

Committee Member Application

Name *
Name
(Example: Are you good with Accounting? Business Planning? Communication? Teamwork and leadership? What is your background?)
What committee(s) are you most interested in joining? *
If you have additional comments, concerns or questions, please provide them here.

January Monthly Board Meeting Minutes

Elk River Area Good Co-op Monthly Meeting
Date: January 15,2018
Time: 6:30-8:30pm
Location: Downstairs meeting room, Eagles Club, 824 Railroad Dr. Elk River, MN 55330
Meeting #: 57
Attendees: Christina, Alyssa, Kari, Liz T, Annie, and Liz F
 



Treasurer’s Report:

  • $6,997.12
  • Four new members 😊

  • Haven’t received grant money, Liz T will send Stuart email

  • Received a new application for treasurer position

    • Still accepting applications for treasurer position

  • Will send one more email blast to see if any other applicants

Membership Approvals:

  • 315  members 😊

Marketing Updates:

  • Signing up for Farmers Market

    • June 7th to Oct 4th 2p to 7p

    • Alyssa will email Liz T application $125

  • February Plans:

    • FAQ’s posted on FB

    • Video blog campaign for spring (30 seconds, what’s important?)

  • I own it campaign for June

  • Partner Promos at harvest time

Committee Reports:

  • [Annie] Operations:

    • Will be making binder with tabs: legality of co-op, bylaws, contacts, FAQ's

    • Co-op start up guide, work plans, timeline, etc.

    • Work plans done by end of January

  • [Liz F.] Education and Outreach:

    • Liz & Anna Met

    • Need to finalize charter and send to Annie

    • In the works: Facebook live parties, education and training

    • Committee Recruitment March 24th, 11-1 p.m. for community members

    • Start hosting movie showings to continue educating community

    • Class Updates:

      • Seafood class sold out- need to revise class structure and costs

  • [Kari & Christina] Membership:

    • To double our membership, we need to get 30 members/month

    • Christina updated members for newsletter list

    • Looking to reestablish house party volunteers

    • Start membership campaign


Volunteer Recruitment:

  • March 24th 9a to 1p

  • Alyssa will advertise on Facebook

  • Expectations to meet monthly no min. of hours

  • Alyssa will make applications

    • more formal

    • send application to Christina

  • No announcement until location is set [Library is confirmed for location


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Up and Coming Conference: Milwaukee Food Co-op Conference 

  • Fly vs driving

  • Alyssa, Maria, and Liz F?

  • March 16th and 17th in Milwaukee, Wisc.

  • $1500 grant to cover expense

  • January 29th will do phone conference to finalize 8p to 9p Annie send email

Meet and Greet January 22nd 6p to 6:45 at ER Library

    Liz F and Christina

Next board meeting February 19th

 

 

5 REASONS TO SUPPORT LOCAL

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SUPPORT LOCAL? WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? AND HOW DOES SUPPORTING LOCAL IMPACT YOU AND YOUR COMMUNITY?

Hey everyone, my name is Alyssa Johnson, and I am the Marketing & Outreach Coordinator for the Elk River Area Food Co-op. Now-a-days you hear the favorite buzzwords 'support local' but what exactly does that mean to you and your community? I wanted to shed a little light on the reason I think supporting local is so important and the immense benefits you can gain, both on an individual level and on a communal level. 

Supporting local is not a new concept, it's not a trend or a fad that will fade with time. Supporting local is what our grandparents did, and their parents, and all that came before them. It's not a becoming, but rather a returning to the way things naturally were once upon a time. Supporting local is a movement that takes consumers away from large, impersonal big-box retailers in order to strengthen the local economy. Instead of filling a multi-million dollar bank account, when you support local, the small businesses you are purchasing from are real families with real passion behind their products. 

When an individual supports friends and neighbors, instead of faceless corporations, one can bask in many benefits you couldn't possibly gain shopping at national chains. Here are some top reasons to support your local food co-op and all the businesses we have partnered with:


1. Know & trust the people behind the product.

Every other week I have farm fresh eggs delivered to my door. Becky Walker, with Walker Farms, drives around in her blue car always pulling up with a huge smile on her face. When you personally know the people behind the products, you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have. Becky has met our passive aggressive dog many times and knows the trick is to give him love. This sort of friendship and trust can not be found at a large box store like Walmart or Cub Foods. There is a sense of pride in everything our partners provide. If you haven't already, check out our growing list of local businesses that are committed to giving the best quality goods and service. 
 

2. Improve your family’s health.

When you buy directly from local farmers or through your town's farmers market, you have access to the freshest fruits and vegetables available in your community. You can get to know your farmers and find out their practices. What you'll notice is most small farmers and those that set up booths at the market are dedicated to providing chemical free produce and pasture-raised animals. Why is that important? Chemicals and toxins are undoubtedly detrimental to our health in large quantities (which is the truth behind most of the conventional products we eat today) and research is beginning to understand the negative implications. 
 

3. Lessen your carbon foot print

Peppers flown in from Holland. Bananas from Guatemala...... Our food travels A LONG way to get to our dinner table. Often these conveniences are overlooked and under appreciated. At a conventional grocery store your products are days (even weeks) old after sitting in a box and being shipped half way across the world or through state lines. Think about how much fuel, time and energy it takes for your favorites to make it on your plate. Buying local means the product is close to home and is definitely fresher than anything you can find at the grocery store. Plus, you are lessening emissions by negating the need to have your food travel long distances.
 

4. Improve the local economy.

When a consumer buys local, significantly more of that money stays in the community. In fact, one Chicago study found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remained in the city while only $43 of each $100 spent at a chain retailer.

Local business owners often have incentives to support other local businesses, patronizing local establishments for both business and personal reasons. Chain businesses, on the other hand, tend to get their supplies from corporate, as well as having store managers and employees that aren’t as personally invested in buying local. [Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244839]
 

5. Keep that small town charm.

Local businesses give a community its flavor. Each small farm has it's own practices and personality. Each local merchant has a story behind their passion for providing handmade, custom products for their customers. On the other hand, most chain restaurants or big box stores are virtually the same with a little rearrangement depending on space and location. The Elk River Area is an old agriculture hub with history rooted in the first cooperative of farmers, the Grange, with Oliver H. Kelley of the Historic Kelley Farm. This area flourished because of the blue collar, hard workers who believed in their work. Let's keep our town quaint and celebrate those who make this area so beautiful.


Of course there are MANY other benefits of supporting local, but those are a few to start. The Elk River Area Food Co-op is dedicated to promoting these values and our vision of bringing the community together through health education and awareness. We believe in the power of consumer choice and strongly push the idea to 'put your money where your heart is'. All too often we forget how much we impact the communities we live in. Be empowered and support the people near you and all the love and passion they put into their products!



2018 - THE YEAR FOR EMPOWERMENT

Things may seem unstable, busy and out of control at times. 
However, we want to remind you how much power you have to create your own community.

It is easy to get sucked into the dramas of the news and the division of opinions. You may not be able to change the world, but who needs to? Individual choice is the only way to influence and improve the whole. Our daily habits and actions are what matter most.

This year we encourage you to support local whenever possible - whether that means calling up one of our partners for fresh food, or buying your coffee at a mom and pop instead of Starbucks. This keeps your money in the hands of families and neighbors instead of multi-billion dollar corporations.

We encourage you to connect with your community - get involved, come to our classes, make new friends who also are interested in bettering their lives and wellbeing. The more you connect with others the more you can relate, and maybe life won't seem so challenging! 

Become a member, join our forces, and help us build a gathering space for all to enjoy. We want to make health and wellness easy and accessible instead of confusing and overwhelming. We believe that healthy, tight-knit communities means happy communities.

We invite you to get involved and help make this co-op dream a reality ~ whatever that means for you!

On the surface, the Elk River Area Food Co-op is a Member-Owned Grocery Store. But dig a bit deeper and you will find that our mission is to empower the community to work together and build a brighter, healthier, fairer future for all to enjoy. Whether it's the environment, our local economy, or the livelihood of our neighbors and friends - we believe that cooperation and support are the only tried and true means of living wholesome lives.

May 2018 be the most fulfilling year yet!
~The Elk River Area Food Co-op
 


NOW HIRING! [Treasurer]

The Elk River Area Food Co-op is currently looking for a Treasurer to fill our 9-person Board of Directors. If you have financial experience and a desire to help develop a start-up cooperative in order to bring fresh, local food to your community, apply today!

**This is a volunteer position, there is no monetary compensation.**


Responsibilities

 

Treasurer: The treasurer shall make a report at each board meeting. The treasurer shall lead the finance committee, assist in the preparation of the budget, help develop fundraising plans, and make financial information available to board members and the public. Additional duties are as follows.

  • Understand financial accounting for for-profit food co-ops.
  • Serve as financial officer of the organization and as lead person of the finance committee.
  • Manage, with the finance committee, the board's review and action related to the board's financial responsibilities.  
  • Ensure that appropriate financial reports are made available to the board on a timely basis.  
  • Prepare the annual budget and presenting the budget to the board for approval.  
  • Coordinate with tax preparer to complete the annual taxes, as required by law.
  • Must have training and experience using QuickBooks and Quicken.

Expectations

  • Share in the vision and core values of the Elk River Area Food Co-op while also having a passion for the mission of the cooperative.

  • Commit time and energy in order to fulfill the mission of the co-op during its developmental stages. In order to successfully comply with this expectation, we ask all of our Board Members to commit a minimum of 10 hours a month. This includes attending monthly board meetings, volunteering at events and helping on committees as needs arise.

  • Attend and fully participate in all board meetings.

  • Board Members are required to represent the Elk River Area Food Co-op in a positive, professional manner. The Board of Directors is the face of the co-op and it is their duty to share the co-op message. Communicating the mission and vision of the co-op to our community is one of the highest regarded responsibilities of the Board of Directors.

  • Learn the operations of the co-op, the duties and expectations of the director, board adopted policies and the board’s legal responsibilities. This would be through orientation to the board and committees, board retreats and board education sessions and conferences.


Benefits of Serving

In addition to expectations, there are numerous benefits that go along with serving on the board of the Elk River Area Food Co-op. These benefits can vary, based on what you are looking for in your social engagement, career aspirations, as well as personal development. Due to the unique nature of the development of the co-op, as a board member, you have the benefit of shaping your board service to fit your unique strengths and talents.

Things to considering if you are running for a board position:

  • Leadership and resume building experience

  • Opportunity to help shape the co-op from its beginning stages

  • Increased knowledge of food co-ops and cooperatives in general

  • Opportunity to make community connections, as well as friendships

  • Build entrepreneurial & business skills, as well as self-improvement

    By joining the Elk River Area Food Co-op Board of Directors you become an integral asset in the co-op’s development. Your passion, commitment and leadership will help guide the co-op to success and is setting the foundation for a strong, cooperative team. By become a Board Member, you are improving your local small town by making healthy, fresh food accessible for all. Your time and dedication will help the Elk River Area grow progressively and increase the wellbeing of our community. 

December 2017 - Meeting Minutes

Elk River Area Food Co-op Monthly Meeting
Date: December 18,2017
Time: 6:30p to 8:30p
Location: Eagles Club, Elk River
Meeting #: 56
Attendees:  Christina, Kari, Maria, Carla, Liz T, Annie, Angela, Alyssa, Liz F, and Anna by phone conference)

Treasurer’s Report:

$7,293.24
Sent grant application
Everything good
Receive check in a week
$4,000 out of $10,000 grant
Use it or lose it?
Ask for extension Liz T or Annie contact Stuart

Membership Approvals:
Three new owners
308 total owners 😊

Marketing Report:
Planning January posts
Classes, events, partnerships etc
Link to Mail Chimp and Facebook
Develop general focus for each month
Any ideas for Jan….want to hear from board

COMMITTEE RECRUITMENT MEETING:
January 13th Dunn Brothers, Zimmerman 10:00am to 1:30pm
Talk committees
Open to public at 11am

Employee Review:
Kari and Annie talked with Alyssa about current position
Keeps things up to date, raised awareness
Provide volunteer time, picking up slack
Need more organization and goals
We need Alyssa!!! 😊
Want to compliment skills while working on portfolio
$15/ hour current asking for a raise of $20

Misc:
February homeopathic class with Anglea
Tiffany Flatten Carla contact
Angela contact bakery in Anoka
Liz F and Alyssa meet to get classes and logo in community ed brochure
Kari make sure everyone on Google Docs and email it
Finance committee scholarship fund  


NEXT MEETING JANUARY 15TH, EAGLES CLUB ELK RIVER
6:30-7:30 P.M.
PLEASE E-MAIL ELKRIVERFOODCOOP@GMAIL.COM
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR TO LET US KNOW YOU PLAN ON COMING.

WELCOME TO THE TEAM: Newly Elected Board of Directors

We are so excited to welcome our new Board of Directors. Congratulations Anna Harris, Angela Foster & Carla Mertz on becoming the newest leaders of our team. We look forward to utilizing your skills and expertise to move the co-op forward!


co-op Anna Harris 2 online.jpg

Meet Anna Harris

Please tell us why you are interested in serving on the Elk River Area Food Co-op Board of Directors.: I have a personal interest in seeing the ERA Food Co-op come to fruition. It is a resource that I value highly in a community, and I am interested in expanding access to fresh, local, & sustainably harvested food / products to my community. Having only lived in Elk River for a few weeks now, I am quickly discovering there is a lack of information about the benefits of locally sourced & sustainable products in this area. As a board member I would like to take an active role in the community education piece of this start up.

What skills and experiences would you bring to the board?: My husband and I own a residential painting company for which I am the sales and marketing coordinator. I have great people skills. I also have a masters degree in environmental education from Antioch University New England which is firmly rooted in sustainability (social, economic & environmental). In school I took an active role in community education programs and event planning. Where I may lack in experience, I have a network of alumni that I feel confident calling upon for advice and support.

 

Why do you think the Elk River Area needs a food co-op; how will it benefit our community?: Oh my gosh, Co-ops (and locally owned coffee shops - which we also need) are community centers. The Elk River Area desperately needs this co-op to serve as a role model for cooperatively driven business and as an education hub for the importance of sustainability. From what I can tell there is a lack in the systematic availability of fresh, local & sustainably harvested products, Elk River needs this co-op to drive the farm to table movement in this area.


Meet Angela Foster

Please tell us why you are interested in serving on the Elk River Area Food Co-op Board of Directors.: I find it so exciting that this community of people has been able to do so much in garnering memberships and followers. The geographical area is in desperate need of a Co-op. I spent most of my early 20s living in Minneapolis, with access to so many amazing Co-ops and I want to bring that experience to the Elk River area. The movement for better quality food is gaining so much traction and momentum, the time is now to get a brick and mortar store up and running. I am a working mom, who doesn't want to have to make the trek into Minneapolis every time I want to purchase reasonably priced sustainable food year round.

Do you have any specific goals you would like to accomplish as a board member? : One of my biggest goals would be to see the membership numbers increase so that we can start to lay plans for a physical store. I would love to assist in the designing and building of the store. I am a very social person and would enjoy being out in the community spreading the word about the co-op and all of its amazing benefits.

What skills and experiences would you bring to the board?: I currently serve on the board of directors for a small local non-profit called Ella's Halo (www.ellashalo.com) and have done so for the past 7 years. I assist in raising awareness for the non-profit by organizing donations and charity events. I spent many years in the restaurant industry as a corporate trainer and assisted in the opening brand new restaurants from the ground up. I now work as a corporate paralegal and would be able to bring my legal background to the table. I have a very strategic mind and I am able to step back and analyze the big picture.

Why do you think the Elk River Area needs a food co-op; how will it benefit our community?: This area is like a food desert in the sense that there is nothing other than big chain grocery stores, whose goal is to sell mass amounts of food, instead of quality products. I love what co-ops stand for and I believe that most people who run them and work at them take a lot of pride in the job they are doing. I would be so thrilled to not have to drive to Minneapolis to purchase high quality groceries at a reasonable price. I believe this co-op could help bring more organic and natural food selections to the area, jobs, and a sense of community by offering items sourced locally.

 

co-op Angela Foster online.jpg

Resized_20171122_081446_7173.jpg

Meet Carla Mertz

Please tell us why you are interested in serving on the Elk River Area Food Co-op Board of Directors.: I am interested to serve on the board of directors to share a vision to bring good quality food to the residents of the Elk River Area, and promote healthy food options and locally sourced produce.

Do you have any specific goals you would like to accomplish as a board member? : To help promote the awareness of the co-op and to help grow membership.

What skills and experiences would you bring to the board?: I am a local farmer/producer. I have 15 years of business ownership experience, working with biz to biz networking. I am also an interior designer working in the restaraunt industry and hospitality. we sell currently to co-op producers. I have a strong business sense, great leadership and teamwork insight.

Please tell us about any prior or current civic involvement. : I have served on the board of directors for the elk river skating club. I currently am involved with shatuck st marys figure skating club to help raise funds for their private programming.

Have you voted?

Our bylaws state we need 10% of owner participation for voting in our NEW Board of Directors [Bio's Here]. With a total of 303 members (at the time of the meeting) we need at least 31 votes, we received 28 votes. If you didn't have a chance to attend the 2016-2017 Annual Member Meeting, please take a second to fill out the ballot below. You have until December 5th to do so, otherwise by your silence we accept your vote. If there are any objections or concerns, please e-mail us at elkriverfoodcoop@gmail.com. 


Your name and member number must match those in our records. Only one vote per member number is allowed (designated voter). Vote by selecting each box. You may select up to five candidates.

Your Name *
Your Name
If you do not know your member number, please provide the e-mail and address you have on file.
Candidates *
Select up to 5 candidates to fill the 2017-2018 Elk River Area Food Co-op Board of Directors

2018 goals & how we plan to achieve them

2016-2017 was a year of many successes!
Read our Annual Report and the Star News coverage of our Annual Meeting to learn more. We are so thankful for the support of our community.
However, in order to keep flourishing, we need YOUR time and energy. 


2018 Goals

2018 is going to be a huge year and we need to bring our neighbors and friends together to make this co-op dream a reality. Here are our current goals for the coming year:

*Double Membership: We need to double our membership (from 300+ to 600+) in order to start looking for physical locations. That shows us, and our lenders, that the community supports our efforts in creating a locally owned grocery store. 

*Establish 9-Member Committed Board of Directors: We elected 3 new Board Members, all serving a 3-year term. Our board is currently filled as we begin to develop training orientations and responsibility delegation. 

*Develop/Maintain Committees: In order for the Elk River Area Food Co-op to continue reaching our goals, we need to engage our community. Starting a food co-op take considerable time and effort, therefore we are looking for our community to step up and join our committees. Committee descriptions and expectations will be posted in the next few weeks, however please reach out if you have specific skills you'd like to donate to the co-op efforts. 


How are we going to get there? 

Our number one priority is to build our membership foundation to 600+ owners in order to start looking for a physical location. In order to do that we need help spreading the word and building awareness!


Join today.
We need our community to commit to our vision and values. The easiest way to do that is to become a member today! You pay a one time fee of $100 and unlock a handful of discounts and member-only benefits from local farmers and small town businesses. Your money stays close to home and you can rest easy knowing you own your very own grocery store.


Already a member?
Refer a friend, host a house party, volunteer your time... We need our members to donate their skills and passion to our cause. In order to get this thing going we need the energy of the entire community. Please find out how you can help & get involved today. 


Don't have much time, but still want to help?
The easiest, most cost effective tool we have is WORD OF MOUTH. Tell everyone you know there is a co-op coming to town! Follow, like and share our posts and e-mails with your network.


If you have further questions, concerns or recommendations, please e-mail elkriverfoodcoop@gmail.com.

2016-2017 Annual Report

Please review our Annual Report to read about our 2016-2017 successes and to learn ways you can continue to help the co-op grow. 


Screenshot 2017-11-27 14.03.10.png

As you will see on the above graph, and our report, Word of Mouth and Social Media have been the two largest contributors to our success. We ask the community to keep spreading the word and help us build visibility and awareness throughout town!

2016-2017 Annual Owner Meeting was a SUCCESS

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We are so thankful to all the Elk River Area Food Co-op Owners who came out to our Annual Owner Meeting. We had a full house and are excited to be outgrowing our space! We started the night off with a community potluck and celebrations followed by new board applicant introductions and talking about 2018 goals. We then proceeded to go over the successes of 2016-2017 and vote in our full board of directors. At the end members had a chance to meet some of our partners and hear about their operations. It was a fun and motivating meeting to inspire the new year ahead.
 


If you couldn't make it here is what we covered:

2016-2017 Successes

*Membership: We nearly doubled our membership. We added over 145 new owners to our growing co-op community for a grand total of #305 OWNERS!! If we can double again this year to #600 we will begin looking for store locations.

*Community Connections: We now have a grand total of 17 local partnershipsmaking it more convenient for you to support local agriculture and small-town businesses. 

*Publicity: The co-op received tons of publicity - Check out all the newspaper articles tracking our growth: Co-op Doubles in Size, Hires First Staff, Johnson Begins Work for Elk River Area Food Co-op, Food Co-op Puts Emphasis on Buying Local, Co-op Doubles Membership, Meets Goals

*Outreach: We held 5 house parties, 3 Meet & Greets, attended over 15 Elk River Farmers Markets and set up for 6+ special community events in order to build visibility in our community. 

*Marketing: We hired our first staff! Alyssa Johnson helped us build awareness by designing, updating and maintaining our online social media and web presence. We also printed over 500 newly designed brochures, 1,000+ business cards, printed over 250 community flyers and distributed 50 yard signs. 

*Education: One of the co-op's core principles is health education and awareness. In 2016-2017 we hosted 7 community classes and continue to offer amazing opportunities to learn with like-minded individuals. Check out our calendar to see what classes are coming up next. 

*Training: Our board of directors and staff had the chance to attend multiple trainings at the local, regional and national level. This allowed us to learn ways to better serve our community and grow with the changing competitive market!


2018 Goals

*Double Membership: We need to double our membership (from 300+ to 600+) in order to start looking for physical locations. That shows us, and our lenders, that the community supports our efforts in creating a locally owned grocery store. 

*Establish 9-Member Committed Board of Directors: We elected 3 new Board Members, all serving a 3-year term. Our board is currently filled as we begin to develop training orientations and responsibility delegation. 

*Develop/Maintain Committees: In order for the Elk River Area Food Co-op to continue reaching our goals, we need to engage our community. Starting a food co-op take considerable time and effort, therefore we are looking for our community to step up and join our committees. Committee descriptions and expectations will be posted in the next few weeks, however please reach out if you have specific skills you'd like to donate to the co-op efforts. 


How you can help

Our goals are achievable, yet lofty. We need our entire community to support our efforts in order to move forward and make this co-op a reality. If you have time or skills you would like to volunteer, please fill out our volunteer application below. 

Volunteer Options

0-3 hours/month: 

3-6 hours/month:

  • Help distribute community flyers (flexible schedule)
  • Volunteer at orientations and special events

6-10 hours/month:

  • Join a Committee: Membership, Outreach, Operations or Finance
  • Join our Board of Directors: currently we are looking for someone with a finance background to be our Treasurer
Name *
Name
How would you like to help? *
Choose as many as you'd like

Star News: FOOD CO-OP DOUBLES MEMBERSHIP, MEETS GOAL (2017)

DID YOU SEE LAST WEEKS PAPER?
Star News came to our Annual Member Meeting to hear about our 2016-2017 successes along with our goals and aspirations for 2018.


Star News: FOOD CO-OP DOUBLES MEMBERSHIP, MEETS GOAL

by Joni Astrup - Associate Editor

The Elk River Area Food Co-op has doubled its membership in the last year as it works toward opening a retail store.

The co-op has added more than 140 members since November 2016. Its membership now stands at 303, according to Annie Felix-Gerth, co-op president.

“We are building a lot of momentum and we are achieving our goals,” Felix-Gerth said during the co-op’s annual meeting Nov. 16 at the Elk River Library.

Goals for 2018 include doubling membership again to 600, improving board operations and establishing committees, she said.

Once membership hits 500 to 600, Felix-Gerth said the co-op can begin looking for a store location. The co-op is operating under the assumption that the store would be 10,000 square feet in size and 1,000 to 1,200 members would be needed before opening a store of that size, she said. A smaller store would require fewer members to open.

She said the co-op needs to continue to build awareness.

Twenty-six percent of new memberships came via social media while 22 percent were from word-of-mouth.

Felix-Gerth said they have been doing outreach by attending community events such as parades and festivals in the summer and offering classes and other events in the winter.

Alyssa Johnson was hired as the co-op’s marketing and outreach director one year ago, which Felix-Gerth said has been key.

The co-op is a member-owned organization dedicated to providing access to high quality local and natural food at a fair price, supporting local farmers and contributing economically to the community, according to the co-op’s 2017 annual report.

Three new board members elected

During the annual meeting, three new members were elected to the co-op’s board of directors. They are Anna Harris, Angela Foster and Carla Mertz.

Harris is a native of Syracuse, New York, where she grew up on a hobby farm. She and her husband bought a house in Elk River recently after moving to Minnesota from Colorado. She has a master’s degree in environmental education.

Foster and her family have lived in Ramsey for five years after residing in Minneapolis for many years. She works as a paralegal.

Mertz is the owner of Iron Shoe Farm in Princeton, which is one of the Elk River Area Food Co-op’s partners that offer discounts to members. Iron Shoe Farm offers member discounts on micro greens, beef, chicken and pork.

Felix-Gerth and Kari Froehlich, the co-op’s vice president, were re-elected to the board.

Other board members are Christina Hackenmueller (secretary), Liz Tveite (treasurer), Maria Rehland and Liz Frink.

Four co-op partners also spoke at the annual meeting. They were Andy Walker of Walker Farms in Princeton, Jake Pettit of Pettit Pastures in Milaca, Brandon Grochow of My Alaska Seafood Connection and LuAnne Moe of Moe Therapeutic Massage.

Walker Farms offers pork, beef, chicken and eggs. Pettit Pastures raises grass-fed beef it delivers locally and also supplies to restaurants. Grochow used to live in Alaska and uses his contacts there to bring seafood directly from Alaska to the Elk River area. Moe is located in Elk River’s Martin Plaza, across from the Dairy Queen, and has been in business since 1998.

Upcoming co-op classes include:

•Nov. 29: Microgreens Make & Take

•Dec. 14: Introduction to Fermenting

•Dec. 19: Mindful Movement for Holiday Stress Relief

•Jan. 9: Sushi Tasting

Event details can be found under the “Event” tab on Facebook or at www.erafoodcoop.com/calendar.

MEMBER CELEBRATION - 300 & BEYOND

2016-2017 was a year of tremendous growth! We nearly doubled our membership to a total of #303 owners. We are so proud of our community and look forward to hitting our 2018 goals! We need your help to get there. In order for us to start looking for physical locations we will need around 600 owners. This shows us, and our lenders, that our community supports our efforts. 

 

If you haven't joined yet, please let us know why!
There is no better time to support local agriculture, healthy food access and community connections. 

Join today so we can make it happen:
Online Registration

Star News: Food Co-op puts emphasis on buying local (2017)

Did you see us in last weekends paper? We headed to the Elk River High School to talk about the importance of supporting local farmers and the benefits of a community owned grocery store.


Food co-op puts emphasis on buying local

Published October 10, 2017 at 5:42 am 

 Photo by Joni Astrup Alyssa Johnson spoke to Elk River High School culinary students about the Elk River Area Food Co-op. She’s wearing a co-op T-shirt with a slogan on the back that reads, “Keep your friends close and your farmers closer.”

Photo by Joni Astrup
Alyssa Johnson spoke to Elk River High School culinary students about the Elk River Area Food Co-op. She’s wearing a co-op T-shirt with a slogan on the back that reads, “Keep your friends close and your farmers closer.”

by Joni Astrup
Associate editor
Students in Elk River High School’s culinary arts program heard about the Elk River Area Food Co-op during a presentation last week.

Alyssa Johnson, the co-op’s marketing and outreach coordinator, described the Elk River Area Food Co-op this way: “It’s a local sourcing option where the goal is to get the food as close to home as possible.”

That offers a number of benefits including reducing transportation costs and pollution and keeping the money local, she said.
Culinary arts teacher Monique Sabby said buying local makes sense. She told the students, for example, that a container of microgreens costs a local farmer $20 to produce, but many times that to buy from a national food service company.

“They’re marking it up and the farmer isn’t the person making the money on it,” Sabby said. “It makes sense to think about those food choices and going to our farmers market and giving the money back to the person that is supplying these great products.”

Johnson, meanwhile, explained that the Elk River Area Food Co-op is owned by its members and the members make the decisions about it.

“Co-ops are really a nice way to empower the local consumer,” she said.

The Elk River Area Food Co-op is selling lifetime memberships for $100 and has 282 members so far. Organizers are aiming for 600 to 800 members before looking at opening a retail location.

Johnson said they want it to be more than just a grocery store, but also have it be a community space where people can take classes and connect with local farmers.

The co-op has 15 partnerships so far with local, small-scale farmers who offer benefits to the Elk River Area Food Co-op members.

The co-op also offers classes. Classes coming up include topics such as making soap, keeping bees and growing microgreens.
An Elk River Area Food Co-op meet and greet will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Elk River Library, 13020 Orono Parkway, Elk River.

Johnson was invited to address Elk River High School culinary students by Sabby during “Elk Time,” a 30-minute period every Thursday that Sabby likes to use to provide enrichment opportunities for students and connect with the community. Participation by her culinary students is voluntary.


Check out the full story on the Star News website!

 

ERTV INTERVIEW [VIDEO] With the Elk River Area Food Co-op and Walker Farms of Princeton (2017)

Last week we met with ErTV and our partners at Walker Farms to discuss the benefits of opening a food co-op in our community. We touched on the communal benefits for the farmers, consumers and local economy at large. Andy and George Walker, owners and farmers of Walker Farms, educated us on their sustainable production practices and walked us around the farm to meet the critters they care for. 

ERTV, WALKER FARMS & THE
ELK RIVER AREA FOOD CO-OP INTERVIEW


WHAT IS A CO-OP?
HOW DOES THE CO-OP IMPACT THE COMMUNITY?
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
WHAT ARE THE COSTS?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COOPERATE?

SHORT VERSION: ERTV INTERVIEW BETWEEN THE ELK RIVER AREA FOOD CO-OP AND OUR PARTNERS AT WALKER FARMS IN PRINCETON.

IF YOU BELIEVE IN OUR MESSAGE, DON'T HESITATE TO JOIN.
THE MORE MEMBERS WE GAIN, THE SOONER WE OPEN OUR DOORS!

Please feel free to share and promote the co-op on your own social media sights!

Sharehttps://youtu.be/1d9bvWwoCcQ

SEASONAL MEMBER-BENEFIT: Local Apples

NEW MEMBER BENEFIT:

Jody’s Orchard & Gardens – LOCALLY GROWN APPLES

Pick up at: 10911 237th Avenue NW, Zimmerman

Elk River Area Food Co-op Members Receive $1.00 OFF

¼ peck bag - $6.00

½ peck bag - $10.00

 

Apples are pre-picked for you to choose your own with many varieties to choose from.

There is a limited supply, so make sure you pick your bag up soon!

 

Jody goes to extreme measures and works very hard to keep these apples chemical free! She bags almost every blossom on the trees to keep the bugs away. She managed to bag over 10,000 just this year! 

 

If you have any questions, please TEXT Jody at 612-817-6569.

Elk River High School Culinary Program Partnership

On Thursday, September 28th, the Elk River Area Food Co-op headed to the High School to speak to the Culinary Class!

In this short 45 minute presentation we spoke about what a co-op is, the benefits of supporting local, why it's important to know the sourcing of your food and introduced the kids to local resources. The Elk River High School Culinary program was ranked #7 in the nation last year, with Miss Monique Sabby as their leader. Sabby believes that hands on kitchen skills are extremely important, especially for students who soon will be leaving high school and on their own to make healthy decisions. Food matters and we are grateful to share that same passion with others in our community!