By Misty Amarena, Moscow Food Co-op Outreach & Education Coordinator
One of the things that makes our food co-op distinctly different is our strong community roots. So, let's dig into all the ways the Moscow Food Co-op and broader community are unique. One of the most substantial ways is our co-op’s commitment to provide a variety of resources and opportunities that are tailored to our specific community. We have an assortment of outreach programs as well as systems for providing charitable contributions to the community. Here are some of our most active and current efforts, but you can learn more about all we do on our website at moscowfood.coop.
- Tuesday Growers Market: For the last decade, the Moscow Food Co-op has sponsored the Tuesday Growers Market. Now in its 11th season, the market has remained true to its roots—a food oriented weekly market made up exclusively of local farmers from within 50 miles of Moscow using sustainable and organic farming practices. Each Tuesday evening we celebrate our local farmers and producers with live music, prepared food and activities for the whole family!
- Crop Mobbing: We wanted to provide community members with an opportunity to maximize their collective efforts by helping our local growers with hands-on farm projects so we created this program. Once we hear from our growers about specific projects they need help with on their farms, we advertise them in the newsletter, Facebook, and through our new email program.
- Food for Thought Film Series: This program is designed to offer education through entertainment. We bring both documentaries and feature films to town on a number of issues related to the co-op’s mission. Films are shown at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre in downtown Moscow on the third Wednesday of the month.
- Art + Music at the Co-op: It is important to us to showcase the many talented artists and musicians in the store each month. Art is hung in the café area and we host an artist reception at the beginning of each new exhibition. Additionally, local musicians play on Tuesday nights from 5:00-6:30pm throughout the year.
- Mamas+Papas: This group was created to offer education to expecting parents and parents of babies and young children. We meet on twice a month to discuss a wide variety of topics. Classes are free and light refreshments and childcare assistance are always provided.
- Co-op Kids: Co-op Kids is designed to build community among our youngest shoppers. The program runs every Tuesday, mainly in the co-op café. Designed for 3-5 year olds, Co-op Kids offers a wide variety of craft activities, music education, food education and so much more.
- Fed Initiative: Also known as our Food Education and Demonstration Initiative, this educational program takes place twice a day each Friday. Shoppers can expect to taste delicious local and seasonal items, while also learning about cooking with different grains, the health benefits to certain foods and where your food is coming from.
- Growing up Gardening: This is a new pilot program which seeks to provide a fun and educational gardening experience for students of all ages. One 20’ X 20’ garden plot at the Hamilton Community Gardens was divided into several smaller 3’ X 3’ plots that were given to young students interested in getting their hands dirty and growing their own food.
- The Grow-op Garden: This new program brings volunteers from the Moscow Food Co-op and Backyard Harvest together to grow a garden cooperatively.
- Business Partner Initiative: The purpose of the Business Partner Program is to provide a connection between our members and the businesses in our community, to provide a tangible membership benefit to co-op members, and to build and sustain the local food and goods economy.
- Community Contributions: This program benefits local, non-sectarian, non-profit and non-discriminatory organizations. Through it, we provide modest donations to a variety of community non-profit organizations.
- Vendor Table Program: This program provides an opportunity for local artisans, organizations, and cottage businesses to share information about their programs and services, sell their locally handmade products, and to evaluate the potential market for their products and services in the wider community.
Many of these programs wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and hard work of several participating owners as well as community and organization leaders and to them we offer a huge thank you! We look forward to continuing to grow and adapt our opportunities to meet the needs of our community.
Republished with permission from Moscow Food Co-op.