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Brenda Myers, New General Manager

The Ideal Green Market Co-op has taken another step in its development by hiring General Manager, Brenda Myers, of Pequot Lakes. Myers comes to the co-op with local roots, being a resident in the area all her life. Brenda has been involved in and owned a variety of businesses over the years, including working with her husband on their farm, and brings with her a passion for good food.

Myers says, “I am a strong supporter of social enterprise, which is what the co-op is!  We have a triple-bottom line that includes social, environmental as well as economic support of local farmers, members and consumers (you do not have to be a member to shop at the Ideal Green Market Co-op) and we represent a responsible way to establish and sustain a business.”

The board and members of the Ideal Green Market Co-Op have created a local food hub. This is a viable solution to the challenges facing local producers. It addresses the logistical, transportation and marketing challenges that small food farmers face. Bringing their product together under a common roof provides a distribution point for producers and a local shopping option for consumers who want to buy source-verified local and regional food. While expanding the market reach of local growers, the Ideal Green Market is also creating local jobs and expanding access to freshly harvested food within our community.

Plans are well under-way with the Grand Opening scheduled for May 14-21, during fishing opener week, Saturday-Saturday. The store will be open full weeks, Monday-Saturday starting that week and is open to all shoppers. Current hours are Thursday, 1-8pm, and Friday and Saturday, 10am-6pm.  It is located at 34988 County Road 39 in Ideal Township at the juncture of Crow Wing County Roads 16 and 39 next to The Old Milwaukee Club.  It’s six miles from Crosslake, seven miles from Jenkins, eight miles from Breezy Point, and 13 miles from Pine River.

Last summer Ideal Green Market Co-op hosted a farmers’ market in the parking lot on Saturdays. This season the farmers market will kick-off on Saturday, May 21, 9am-1pm, as part of the final day of the Grand Opening. Then it will run every Saturday 9am-1pm through October 1st as one of the co-op’s activities.

The co-op mission is “to provide access to local, sustainable and healthy food and products.” Since opening last November, three days per week, membership has increased from 113 to approximately 160 new members.  Most products are organic, and local goods are featured. There are over 20 local vendor goods represented within a 100-mile radius. It is exciting to note the wealth of great food being grown and/or processed in the area as the co-op works to source as close to home as possible, while filling out with other goods sought by customers. The produce, when not local, is primarily sourced from smaller farmers/food producers, many of whom participate in farmer cooperatives in their areas.

Local greens from Alder Song Farm of Merrifield and Grampa G’s of Pillager are now being stocked at the co-op with their first harvests from their green houses and/or hoop houses. Member and volunteer Joan Ingebrigtson, speaks highly of the co-op and the quality of the produce in particular. “The food is so fresh, smells so good, and, most importantly, tastes great! I know where it’s coming from and I know my dollar goes to support not only the co-op, but smaller growers and food producers.”

When asked what Myers is most excited about as General Manager, she noted the sustainability factor of the co-op model. “It’s people working together for a common good. A food co-op allows the community to focus on local people and their nutritional needs while keeping dollars local.”

Barb Mann, Co-op Coordinator since Jan 2015, will stay on through June 2016.Barb Mann, co-op coordinator since January 2015, will continue working with co-op development through June 2016. "Welcoming Brenda as general manager is fantastic and will take the co-op to the next level of growth," Mann says. "It's exciting and we are well poised for the Spring/Summer season as we continue to meet the needs of the member-owners and the community."

For more information about the co-op, membership, email sign up, and activities, stop in during open hours, email, "like us" on Facebook, or call 218-543-6565.
 

 

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