Market Musings Blog

Regenerative Agriculture, a Step Beyond

Photo courtesy of Frogtown Farm.

“Sustainable agriculture”—you’ve heard the term, but what does it mean? From a production and distribution standpoint, “sustainable” often refers to a three-tiered model focused on systemic social, environmental, and economic impacts. From an agricultural perspective, this can mean ensuring fair labor wages and working conditions, implementing ecologically-friendly farming practices such as the certified organic standards, and guaranteeing fair pricing for final goods to strengthen local food economies. While sustainable agriculture has many advantages over industrial agribusiness—which relies heavily on patented GMOs, vast monoculture cropping and feedlots, and repeated use of synthetic chemicals and antibiotics—there is still plenty of work to be done.

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Change is in the Air

A message to member-owners from General Manager Gail Graham

One of the more common member requests we receive is switching from paper to electronic member discounts. Our cash register provider recently updated their software, making it feasible for us to finally implement this request. We know the member discount is a popular benefit. Making it more easily accessible is a welcome change. However, as is often the case, when one thing changes, others tend to follow.

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Honoring the African-American Co-op Movement

Throughout history, grassroots activism has played a key role in addressing racial and socioeconomic oppression, exploitation, and segregation. The cooperative movement formed in direct opposition to corrupt business practices to address food and social justice issues, economic independence, product quality standards, labor conditions, and methods of ownership. Oftentimes, the consumer co-op story begins in mid-19th-century England with the founding of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society. This group of 28 British citizens is regarded as having successfully opened the first truly cooperative grocery business. At the time, this was a radical departure from exploitative practices they faced at company grocery stores provided by their textile factory employers.

The consumer co-op scene in Minnesota grew from the roots of formal cooperative business efforts taken by the Rochdale Pioneers and 19th-century Finnish and Scandinavian immigrants in Northern Minnesota. These British citizens and European immigrants made impressive contributions to the co-op movement. However, if we stop there, the story remains incomplete and inaccurate. To truly understand the power of cooperatives, we must recognize, share, and celebrate contributions to the movement by a multitude of races and cultures, especially those that have been historically marginalized.

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Commemorating Credjafawn Co-op

Many people associate the growth of local grocery co-ops with the 1960–1975 period, during which many of our region’s existing stores began. A notable exception to the 1960s local food co-op movement was the Credjafawn Co-op Store, which briefly served the Rondo community in the years immediately following World War II. Its freestanding building at 678 Rondo Avenue, at what was then the corner of Rondo Avenue and St. Albans Street, lay roughly four blocks northwest of Mississippi Market’s Selby store.

Lively photographs of Credjafawn Co-op from 1948 document a tidy, well-equipped corner store with white-painted porcelain cases, a two-tiered air-conditioned produce display backed by tall mirrors, and grocery carts small enough to thread their way through narrow aisles packed with fresh food for sale. The Co-op’s two large street-facing windows were partly papered with posters featuring the familiar twin-pines logo of the National Cooperative Business Association, which also served as Mississippi Market ‘s logo for a short period of time.

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Goodness Giveaway: Win Groceries, Give Groceries

Win a cart full of groceries!

Entries must be received by December 12th. Winners will be announced in mid-December.

Swing by the co-op for your chance to win one of three carts full of Co+op Basics groceries. One lucky winner per store will receive an assortment of groceries valued at approximately $75. Simply enter our Goodness Giveaway next time you shop at any of our three stores; no purchase necessary.

Three matching $75 donations in the winners’ names will be given to our December Positive Change recipient Keystone Community Services. Keystone is a local organization that provides nutritious food to over 26,000 community members on an annual basis who are experiencing barriers to healthy eating.

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A Family Recipe for the Holidays

Thanks to board member Hlee Vang for sharing her family’s traditional holiday recipe!

“I love the holidays and the ability to share good, healthy, delicious food with my family and friends. I would love to share a traditional family recipe with you. Bon appétit!” – Hlee Vang

Chicken Coconut Curry Soup with Vermicelli Rice Noodles

Serves 6-8

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A Local Champion: Featherstone Farm

Featherstone Farm has been growing organic fruits and vegetables for over 20 years with a focus on personal, financial, and environmental sustainability. At their 250-acre certified organic farm in Rushford, Minn, Featherstone produces over 70 different crops annually for delivery to local food co-ops, natural food stores, farm-to-table restaurants, and wholesalers. They also operate a successful Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which delivers fresh produce throughout the summer, fall and winter seasons directly to CSA customers in the Twin Cities, Rochester, and Winona.

The farm’s philosophy is rooted in the belief that the freshest, best-tasting, most nutritious fruits and vegetables come from holistic, sustainable production systems. As organic farmers, Featherstone possess a strong ethic of environmental stewardship. A 2,200 square foot, 38 kilowatt solar panel array that sits atop their machine shop serves as one example of their practical, long-term commitment to a clean, sustainable future. We particularly respect their dedication to building healthy soil, protecting natural resources, creating renewable energy, and serving as a regional food hub that connects our urban and rural communities. Their delicious organic carrots and butternut squash are amazing!

3rd Annual Holiday Sampler

Holiday Sampler: Tasting & Gift Fair

Saturday, December 9 | 11:00am-2:00pm | West 7th store

Brighten your season at our third annual family-friendly Holiday Sampler! This is a great chance to:

  • Meet local vendors
  • Taste festive flavors
  • Peruse local gifts
  • Sip on tasty mocktails and eggnog
  • Enjoy live piano music
  • Take part in a string-cheese-snowman kids’ craft
  • Splurge on limited-time-only holiday sales on favorites such as local cookies, cheeses, candles, and more
  • Receive a seasonal gift with purchase when you spend over $50, while supplies last

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Introducing: Goosefoot Kitchen

We’re proud to introduce you to Goosefoot Kitchen, a weekly meal planning service run by local chef, cooking instructor, healthy food advocate, and gardener Kristin Hamaker. Goosefoot has recently begun serving as Mississippi Market’s exclusive chef partner. 

Trained in 2005 at Ballymaloe House, a unique culinary school in County Cork, Ireland, Kristin absorbed a truly comprehensive education. While studying there, she had the opportunity to learn French culinary techniques, vegetable and herb gardening, how to milk a cow, and fishing skills in the frigid Celtic Sea. Afterwards, she returned home to St. Paul and started a real foods personal chef service named Farm to Fork, which she cared for and grew over the course of 10 years, eventually selling it on good terms in 2015. Somewhere along the line she married her best friend, started a family, and has been exploring meaning as imperfectly and deliciously as the next person.

In the near future, Kristin will be featuring nutritious, home cooked meal ideas on our Market Musings blog and in our Market Medley member newsletter, as well as conducting in-store healthy eating demos and providing you with delicious recipes while you shop. Goosefoot recipes focus on simple ingredients and healthful food for you and your family.

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Annual Member-Owner Meeting & Celebration

At our 2017 Annual Member-Owner Meeting & Celebration on October 18th at the Midpointe Event Center, we’ll gather together to hear updates from our board of directors and General Manager Gail Graham, welcome newly elected board members, and hear from guest speaker Faye Brown from the Tanka Fund. This is also the last opportunity for member-owners to vote in our board of directors election. We’ll have fabulous prize giveaways, including a free bicycle. Enter the raffle at our Annual Meeting for your chance to win.

Register for the 2017 Annual Meeting! Tickets must be reserved by Monday, October 16th.

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