|A Visit to Fellow Co-ops in the Midwest|
By Mariah Rose Dahl,
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Midwest and attend a co-op marketing conference in Milwaukee, WI that included folks from over 80 different co-ops from around the country. It was so powerful to hear stories from such a wide range of co-ops with different sizes, member bases, and socio-economic locations. I found it inspiring to be connected to so many people
Monday, 02 June 2014 15:02
By Kristie Snyder,
When the Women's Community Building was demolished in 2012, GreenStar didn't feel the loss of the community gathering space as keenly as other area organizations. With a recently purchased warehouse property sitting partially vacant, the Co-op simply relocated their Member Meetings and other events (many of which had been held for years at the WCB) to that space. It was hardly inviting — with block walls, bare concrete floors, little to no insulation, and no air conditioning — but it was spacious. Other organizations that had depended on the WCB community room weren't as lucky.
Two years later, GreenStar is opening a new community gathering space — that bare-bones warehouse has been transformed into The Space @ GreenStar, an elegant, 3,420 square-foot gathering space that can accommodate up to 228 people. Outfitted with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment and set up for in-house catering by the GreenStar kitchen, the Space is now available to rent for functions ranging from wedding receptions to business meetings, band performances to birthday parties, church gatherings to art fairs.
The decision to renovate The Space came easily. The Co-op's new central kitchen plan left a portion of the warehouse property at 700 West Buffalo Street empty, while the need in the community for an affordable gathering space was evident. "The loss of the Women's Community Building really created a hole in the community," said GreenStar General Manager Brandon Kane. "That rental space had been used by all sorts of organizations." So the Co-op created The Space — its name kept deliberately vague, so as not to limit the possibilities. In addition to making The Space available to the community, the Co-op will use it for its own events. "We've always been more than just a grocery store," said Joe Romano, GreenStar's Marketing Manager. "Now we actually have a space where we can have events and bring in other community members in a way that just wasn't possible before."
Monday, 02 June 2014 15:26
By Joe Romano,
Don't eat anything advertised on TV.
— Michael Pollan
In late November of 1953, the executives at C.A. Swanson & Sons had the biggest Thanksgiving leftover problem in history. The Omaha, Neb., frozen food company had overestimated the demand for its 1953 Thanksgiving turkey supply, to the tune of over half a million pounds of fresh turkey. With nowhere to store such an amount, the Swanson brothers, Gilbert and Clark, loaded the turkeys into ten refrigerated railroad cars, which had to keep rolling to stay cold.
As the turkeys rode the rails from Omaha to the East Coast and back again, the two brothers gave their staff a challenge — figure out what to do with the birds before they got back.
One of their salesmen, Gerry Thomas, had just returned from the Pan Am kitchens, where he had been given one of their new silver, multi-compartment, airline meal trays as a souvenir. He figured it might be just what the Swansons needed to sell off that turkey. Thomas mocked up a turkey dinner-filled tray and suggested marketing the meals by linking them to the national obsession, television. The box would look like a TV screen, complete with knobs and dials. By the time the turkeys arrived back in Omaha, the TV dinner, a meal that needed no preparation or cleanup, had been born. More important, home-cooked food had successfully been typecast in the role it plays across America today, the inconvenient, annoying, and unimportant sidekick who only earns his keep when he amuses us.
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Celebrate local history by supporting local farms — July brings greens, herbs, cukes, cabbage, and berries.
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