Local and organic foods ﬁt for a community
Honey. Grains. Organic produce. Free-range poultry. Grass-fed beef. Fresh-baked whole grain bread. The Good Earth Food Coop has a history of bringing nutritious foods and nutritional products to its members and the greater St. Cloud community over the years. In 1971, the cooperative opened in Christ Church/Newman Center at St. Cloud State University, and few years later, it moved to East St. Germain Street. Finally, in 1994, food the cooperative relocated to Centennial Plaza on Veterans Drive where it’s been in operation for over 20 years. Today, membership participation is at an all-time high of 3,000 individuals/families. If you’re interested, a lifetime membership costs $100. For that, you receive so much.
Members of the Good Earth Food Coop are committed to helping themselves and others stay healthy by eating and using healthful products that are grown organically and sustainably. The coop works with local and regional producers to also ensure the health of the land and environment as well. “Every dollar we spend in the community goes back into the local economy,” said Dawn Johnson, Produce Manager, who buys from 14 Minnesota producers. “Anywhere from 75 to 85 percent of our produce is local in the summertime. In the winter, the percentage drops, but we oﬀer root vegetables like onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, potatoes, and others.”
Supportive of sustainable, organic, and local agriculture
Johnson purchases produce from the Central Minnesota Sustainability Project, and has also donated plants to the group. “Last year, we bought more from them than ever before,” said Johnson. Luke Salisbury, Bulk Manager, has been with the Coop for eight years. He buys ﬂour from Swany White Flour Mill in Freeport and Whole Grain Milling in Welcome, just northwest of Fairmont in southern Minnesota. Of his 15 local/regional vendors, most grow the grain themselves, or cultivate the honey, maple syrup, and wild rice. Other items on the menu come from regional vendors. Eggs and poultry come from the Larry Schultz Organic Farm in Owatonna. Thousand Hills Cattle Co. in Cannon Falls provides grass fed beef items. Artisan breads and rustic pastries come from Fred’s Bread in Eden Prairie. “We know our customers by name or member number, so they can come and talk to us whenever they have a question about pricing or a suggestion about a product they’d like to see us stock,” said Salisbury. “Our prices are pretty comparable to a regular grocery store. We try to match prices on organics whenever we can.”
First, you receive discounts on purchases: 5% one-time monthly discount, 10% discount on pre-ordered cases (bulk), monthly specials, ﬁnally, use your own cloth bags for shopping to receive a .05 cent token per bag which will be collected by the Coop on a monthly basis, and the value donated to charity. Shop “Member Super Sunday,” and receive 10% oﬀ an order of $100 or more. Second, monthly “Owner Deals,” posted on the website. Third, products are clearly labeled: green tags denote local items; orange tags indicate gluten free products; red tags highlight monthly specials. “One of the most important member perks is the ability to vote for the Board of Directors and to run for the Board as well, and thus, help govern the future of the Co-op,” adds Salisbury. If you haven’t explored this local, member-owned gem, do so today!