Saturday, January 17, 2009

Iowa Food Cooperative Launched in Des Moines Shopping Center

The following excerpt was copied from:

"This small shop in Merle Hay Mall is open only one day a month but business is booming. Loads of food – such as home-grown potatoes, apples, honey and frozen meat – come into the store all morning long, to be assembled and re-packaged by volunteers, then stacked neatly on wire shelves and in coolers and freezers for customers to pick up during the rest of the day.

The thriving new business is the Iowa Food Cooperative, which opened November 20. Two years of groundwork for the venture was funded by a $47,600 competitive grant from the Leopold Center’s Marketing and Food Systems Initiative. The project also has received assistance from Blooming Prairie Foundation, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and a natural resource-based business opportunity grant. Merle Hay Mall has donated retail space for the cooperative’s first year of operation.

Here’s how the coop works: Farmer-members indicate what products are available and their prices, which are posted on a web site where members also place orders. Farmers bring their products to the Des Moines mall for pick-up by members one day each month. The first month’s pick-up had 44 orders totaling nearly $3,500, which included a 10 percent handling fee for the coop."


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