As your local community owned grocery store, we have a responsibility to our community, to the earth, to our farmers and to our cooperative business model. As a cooperative, we are guided by a set of principles – the seven cooperative principles.
Just Food gives back to the community in many ways that we often do not talk about. We are glad to do it, it is part of the reason we exist so it just feels like it’s the right thing to do without ‘tooting our own horn’! We also think that this community and our member have a right to know what we’re up to. Let’s take a little trip down a few of those paths and look at how your locally owned grocery store is supporting the community that supports us.
About two years ago, Just Food developed and implemented our Just Round Up program that has given over $14,000 back to our community partners just last year. That’s you, our customers and community donating to these non-profits. We simply serve as the conduit by collecting the application, choosing the partners, asking you to Round Up your purchases and then giving those funds to the non-profit for the month. We have a diverse pool of applications from non-profits and the funds raised vary, but the goal is to provide our customers with options that fit for them. Some of our community partners have included Ruth’s House of Hope, River Bend Nature Center, Greenvale Park PTO, Prairie’s Edge Humane Society, Friends of the Library, the Skateboard Coalition and the Northfield Fireworks display. Our community partners serve very different sectors of our community. All non-profits are welcomed to apply and we choose community partners on a quarterly basis.
Education. We provide educational opportunities to our community, whether it be onsite classes, co-sponsoring classes with the YMCA, Northfield Hospital or the Library; there’s always something going on that you can be a part of – member or not! Did you know that we have an education coordinator that participates weekly in afterschool programming at all three elementary schools in town? We provide a fun activity on behalf of the Co-op and also a healthy snack for the children. Young Chefs, a Carleton College middle school food program, receives substantial food donations from the Co-op to help defray costs of teaching our middle school youth about food and science. Additionally, Just Food has been providing snacks to the Greenvale Park Community School snack cart for evening programming. In February, Just Food donated 1000 apples to Bridgewater’s Apple and a Book Event that encourages reading, and getting to do so while eating a healthy apple and sharing the reading with a trusted adult. Feeding our community – mentally and physically – it’s good stuff!
Just Food participates in community events like Winter Walk, Taste of Northfield and Jesse James Days. We also have held stand-alone events like our annual Dairy Days in June and Harvest Festival in September, which are great opportunities to meet your farmers and thank them for the work they do to provide our community with good food! As part of the larger cooperative community, Just Food, along with all the Twin Cities Co-ops, provide everyone an opportunity to get out and meet your farmers at the Eat Local Farm Tour held every July.
Just Food is currently in a member drive and we would love for you to consider joining us. It’s not a special club to join, you are actually purchasing stock in a business that you can believe in. Your $125 one-time investment will garner many member benefits including member only pricing on products and classes, use of the community room for personal or privately held events, case discounts on products and the ability to say – “Hey, I am part of that!”
So those cooperative principles that we talked about earlier:
1. Voluntary, Open Membership
2. Democratic Member Control
3. Member Economic Participation
4. Autonomy and Independence
5. Education, Training And Information
6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
7. Concern For The Community
They guide us, they make us better and they help us to serve you to the best of our ability. We strive daily to put good affordable food on our shelves so that everyone in our community has access to the food they want to eat. If you haven’t been to Just Food within the last six months, I’d personally like to invite you down. There has been a great deal of focus put on food access and affordability for our community, and I know you’ll like what you see.
Everyone can shop. Anyone can join. Member or not, you’re always welcome at Just Food. We hope to see you soon!
written by: stephanie aman, marketing and member service manager