Buying food locally brings so many perks. First, you can feel assured knowing where your food comes from. You may get to know the farmer/grower personally. You know your food travelled a short distance to reach you, resulting in fewer emissions. Plus, you can learn which foods are grown or harvested during certain seasons here in Iowa. You may even discover a new favorite ingredient or way to prepare it.
One place where you can find a variety of locally-produced foods all in one spot is the Iowa Food Cooperative. Now in their 10th year, the Iowa Food Cooperative has grown from their Des Moines location to include a network of satellite pickup spots across Central Iowa. Here, Member Services Coordinator Jennifer Miller and General Manager Gary Huber share more about the history and mission of this local food hub.
Tell us a bit about Iowa Food Cooperative. How did it start?
We needed a better way to connect local farmers with good markets. We’d tried working with existing distributors. Too many barriers. We wanted a direct-to-consumer system. Margins for farmers would be higher, and direct connections between producers and folks eating their foods are best. We settled on building an online grocery store to facilitate commerce between producers and consumers. We worked to put in place the needed components and launched in late 2008.
How has it evolved?
What is it today?
What makes your approach to different?
Our 1,200+ producer and consumer members own the store. Producers must be from Iowa, and they must grow, raise, or make what they sell. They stock the store’s shelves using the software, including setting set their prices and describing their products. Consumers then use the software to purchase products off these virtual shelves. The results are personal relationships between producers and consumers that are not found in any other grocery store. In other words, we compete with affection, and that’s our key difference.
How does your business help people?
We provide a tangible way for people to realize their hopes. These hopes include healing the planet with farms that respect and work with nature. They include healing our bodies with foods that nourish. And they can include healing our hearts and souls by engendering a community of people who care deeply for each other.
What do you love about the Greater Des Moines community?
Learn more about Iowa Food Cooperative
About Our Health Community
“Our Health Community” is a blog series by Capital Chiropractic & Rehabilitation Center designed to celebrate health-centered services and businesses in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Explore “Our Health Community.”
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