Meeting notes from July 3, 2014

carrots and buttercrunch lettuce likes the cooler weather we've been having.

Attendees: Mary Plein, John Plein, Loyal Hoag, Dan Yavner, John Mikesh, Deb Mikesh, Linda Walker, Brian Umberzagt, Sandy Roubal, Megan Loukota, Beth Werneke, Matt Werneke, Taren Saccoman, Annette Kaldahl, John Ehlert, Jay Dregni, Meredith Sommers

Mary called the meeting to order at 3:15 p.m.

(Mary)   Welcomed attendees. Gave brief introduction of core group and our connection with Ron & Judy Kidder. Explained their absence due to illness. Went on to share  Kidder's perspective; supportive of a food co-op developing to point where proceeds could pay rent & utilities. They are willing to contribute their time, experience toward volunteering on steering committee, in the store, landlord duties, gardening. As owners of the store for the last couple years, Kidders are also at a decision-making phase where this is a 'last effort' to rally together the tasks of feaseability and startup with the knowledge that it might not succeed as a food co-op. Kidders have accepted that possibility, but like the rest of us, feel there is enough potential for an effort.

(Loyal)   Discussed some history in US agriculture to today's position of many people seeking access to healthier food, himself included. And learning that what he ate really made a difference in his health provides motivation to be involved in the project. Not only should we provide good food but a co-op should provide some education about the food we are eating. Mentioned some realities of starting a co-op; takes  on average 2-3 years to startup; gaining non-profit status could cause delays.

(Megan)   Shared her personal experiences raising her family of five children through illnesses affecting both her daughter (corn allergy) and son (cancer). She learned a lot during her years of advocating for her children's health through educating herself on nutrition and its' ability to heal. Megan runs a small farm nearby on CR39, along with her husband, Jake. Discussed activities at the farm, animals, crops, plans to clear for more sun.

(Linda)   Suggested we contact Senator Carrie Ruud and Representative John Ward for help once we're looking to gain non-profit status. They could move things along for us.

(John Mikesh? note: not sure if correct name for this comment)   Do we know local farmers? We should get a list of names of local farmers to approach for seasonal produce. Mary said we do want to use this growing season to meet/greet local farmers & growers to make connections. Asked the group to forward to Ideal Green Market (IGM) any names of local farmers they know of.

(Megan)   has been a member of a Buyer's Club for years now, She said it's free to signup and become a member. She's already got a regular delivery 'drop' setup, it wouldn't be difficult to add a drop for the store. Or maybe merge her drop with Ideal Green Market (IGM). It was mentioned that this could be a way to easily begin using the storefront, slowly begin development to a full-blown co-op.

(Brian)   Has anyone contacted Ron Schultz about his farm? It was brought up that the Shultz farm field is already contaminated with pesticides...

Happy Dancing Turtle was suggested as a contact for consult & support. Some brief discussion that Pine River might be interested in a food co-op developing here. They tried to get one going in PR but so far the 'Back Door' buyer's club at Stone Woman Herbals is as close as it's come.

(Dan)    Suggested one form of the education element in the co-op could be canning classes for those facing mounds of tomatoes in August. The idea was well received.

(Sandy)   When asked, she said she'd like to see goat-milk products at the store. I'm not certain but she may be able to contribute these products herself? Not clear in my notes.

(John Ehlert)   Suggested we contact the Ideal Community Service Organization for support in funding. Especially since so many Ideal residents and ICSO members/volunteers have spent many years in the Ideal Store. Might even be a source for volunteers. Linda Walker mentioned that Kidders gave a brief talk two years ago at an ICSO annual breakfast meeting, which is where some of the attendees were originally solicited for their participation. Full disclosure, Mary Plein is President of ICSO and Linda Walker is Vice President.

General discussion continued on the subjects of networking, business plans, other co-ops, seasonal eating, making store a destination - unique in ways that would draw shoppers, etc.

Signup sheet was passed around requesting contact info from attendees as well as a handout sheet/survey listing basic facts about the Ideal Green Market. Below are the results from the survey question: What is important for a satisfying food-shopping experience? (Listed in order of popularity.)

  • Organic/chemical-free    ||||
  • Bulk goods/grains & spices    |||
  • Cost/Pricing    |||
  • Good fresh product    |||
  • Locally grown    |||
  • Location    |||
  • Non-GMO    ||
  • 100% organic could be unrealistic    |
  • Bakery goods/with coffee & tea (brings people in summer & winter)    |
  • Clean    |
  • Convenience    |
  • Friendly atmosphere    |
  • Health food source    |
  • Knowledge (thru staff or printed material)    |
  • Minimal packaging    |
  • Non-profit basis    |
  • On-hand product    |
  • Volunteer and paid staff    |

(Loyal)   Will contact key people who can help (business plan, non-profit status, grants) and invite them to next meetings.

(Mary)   Thanked everyone for their interest and for coming to the meeting. Reminded everyone that we've been meeting weekly on Thursday afternoons, usually at 3:00 p.m. there at the Ideal Store. Invitation extended to all to attend these meetings whenever possible, and encouraged to bring along a neighbor or friend.

Meeting adjourned about 4:15 p.m.

Next meeting tentatively scheduled for Thursday July 10 at 3 p.m. at the Ideal Green Market.


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