Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How Can I Become More Involved in Our Local Food System?

Know Your Farmer
The key to a sustainable food system in West Michigan is the participation of local consumers. It's ultimately up to you to take responsibility for where your food comes from; educate yourself about the issues surrounding modern agriculture and don't be afraid to ask questions when you shop. Farmers who are as concerned about the food system as you are appreciate it.

The West Michigan CoOp is primarily run by volunteers, and is heavily reliant on member and producer participation to continue bringing quality, sustainable agriculture to our area. While we are always appreciative for volunteers on pickup nights, we also need help with the leadership aspects of the Co Op, which include the board of directors and our four committees. Any member of the CoOp is encouraged to join a committee. They are the most important part of the direction we take.

Volunteer opportunities
Pick-up night volunteers:
These volunteers are crucial to ensuring that our pick-up nights run smoothly for shoppers and producers alike. At each pick-up night, volunteers are needed to help with set-up, greet members and distribute invoices, assist new members and help direct shoppers, and work as cashiers.

Committees: West Michigan Co-op maintains four ongoing committees to manage various areas of the organization. There are committees for producer relations, member relations, community relations, and the website. These committees are comprised solely of volunteers. For more about these committees, click here.

Special events: Throughout the year, the Co-op routinely participates in community events and festivals such as the Local First Street Fair, Grand Rapids Public Library Farmers and Artisan Market, and the Grand River Water Festival. Volunteers are typically needed at these events to staff the Co-op table and distribute literature about the organization.

Board of Directors: The Board of Directors manages the operations, finances, policies, and direction of the Co-op. The Board meets monthly. .

For more information about volunteering, or to sign up to volunteer, please contact Rori Weston, Volunteer Coordinator by email ( or by phone at (616) 951-3287.

The Board of Directors

Voting Membership
Voting members of the Co-op have the ability to vote at the annual meetings and at any special membership meetings that may be called throughout the year. In addition, voting members are eligible to run for a seat on the Board of Directors when there is a vacancy. As such, they have a greater voice in the direction of the Co-op.

There are two ways in which to become a voting member:
  1. Volunteer five or more times in the calendar year. Volunteer opportunities include helping out at pick-up night, helping at special events, and joining committees. 
  2. Being a Selling Producer in good standing with the West Michigan CoOp.

Please look over these opportunities and let us know if you have the time to help us shape the direction of The West Michigan CoOp. Your specific talents may be just what we are looking for. 

Our Annual Meeting will be held 
Wednesday, May 4 at 6pm at 1475 Michigan St. NE

If you are eligible and interested in running for a seat on the Board of Directors, please contact
Rori at
by April 27th.

April Pickup Night Will Be Filled With New Spring Items

Hello Co Op Members!

With Spring trying its hardest to make it to Michigan, we are thinking about some fun additions to our offerings. Many of these items will be available for purchase as "extras" at April's pickup night. Also keep an eye out for more products like these coming for the May shopping cycle.

Mud Lake announces the return to summer pricing for greens… We’ve got LOTS of lettuce, so be sure to get some for a delicious salad. We’ll also have baby Pak Choi again this month as well as stinging nettles (a delicious and nutrition-packed spring treat). We’ve also added our bibb lettuce in a clamshell for a long shelf-life option (in your fridge, of course!).
While you’re ordering some delicious greens, why not add some of our cordials and make a tasty salad dressing?

Connie from Grand ShireFarm says "It's time to think about our summer gardens! During April and May, along with our regular soup mix choices,Grand Shire Farm will have a large variety of organically grown potted herbs and heirloom vegetables in both 4 inch and 6 inch size pots. Feel free to contact Connie at and she would be happy to supply you with a list of what will be available. We will also have a nice assortment on pick-up night.

We would also like to welcome our newest producer, Good Sweet Earth, an all-organic soil amendment and fertilizer company, family-owned and operated in Zeeland Township, Michigan. We offer personalized soil care for your yard and garden, lawn fertilization, and a variety of hand-crafted soil amendments and fertilizers for sale. Our mission comes from our family’s own desire to stop putting chemicals into our garden and lawn year after year, and now we want to spread our fertilizer as far and wide as possible. They will be at April pickup with a great variety of amendments for your soil to maximize this your garden yields. Stop by and say hi, check out their composts and ask those gardening questions that are sprouting in your head.

Veronica from Dancing Goat Creamery says "Fresh Chevre is Back!! Traditional, Herb and Fennel Pollen, and Honey Orange!"

Happy Shopping!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Check Out Our Newest Producers! Love's Ice Cream and Alaskan Premium Seafood

Hey CoOp Shoppers, we have some exciting new additions to our list of great local products.  Please take a look at Alaskan Premium Seafoods and Love's Ice Cream.  Here's a little info from each of them:

MO (Maura) Ennenga of Alaskan Premium Seafoods lives in Traverse City and is grateful to have this opportunity to bring high quality seafoods to the West Michigan coop members. Mo's former partner fishes on the bering sea and the boat sells to Maura their hook and line caught Pacific Cod and Halibut. The Sockeye is caught by an Alaskan Fishing Cooperative, one of her nephews fishes for the cooperative. All products are 'wild caught', and the traceablity is 100%. Maura has been listed as a Partner with Seafoods Watch, a program by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Alaskan Premium Seafoods is one of four recognized sustainable seafoods suppliers in Michigan by Seafoods Watch. She is delighted to be back at the Cooperative. A native of Eastown, She grew up going to the Eastown Cooperative (working there with her Mom), and walking weekly to the Fulton farmers market.

Chris McKellar from Love's is offering great flavors of traditional organic and sustainable ice creams, as well as vegan gelatos!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Meet the Leaders of the Revive & Thrive Project

For some time now, the Directors here at the CoOp have been wanting to find a charitable organization to support.  When we met the leaders at the Revive & Thrive Project, we knew it was a perfect fit.  Their organization combines supporting sustainable local agriculture, educating local youth about healthy food, and the care of our community members afflicted with serious illness.   Below is their overview, and we encourage you to take a look.   They will have a booth near checkout this evening to answer questions and meet our members.  If you would like to learn more or get involved, please stop and say hello or check out their website at  
You are sure to be inspired by the work they are doing.

The Revive and Thrive Project is a 501(c)(3)organization and an affiliate partner of the Ceres 
Community Project in California, bringing the highly successful Healing Meals for Healthy 
Communities model to Grand Rapids. 

Mission: The Revive and Thrive Community Project combines the power of healing meals 
with the heart of community service to support a vibrant food system, promote the benefits 
of healthier eating and empower the leaders of tomorrow. We pursue this by:

 Supporting individuals and their families struggling with serious illness with 
nourishing and healing meals;

 providing teens with healthy eating skills and leadership development while 
activating their efforts in service to others;

 connecting individuals, local food growers, educators and healthcare communities to 
promote a more sustainable local food system.

The innovative and evidence-based Healing Meals for Healthy Communities model employs 
strong social networks centered on healing foods, experiential service learning, and holistic 
nutrition education programs. Our four core areas include the following:

 Teen Leadership & Empowerment: Gardening and culinary programs empower teens with 
healthy eating skills. Our leadership program teaches valuable life skills while promoting 
the value of serving those in need.

 Healing Meals:  Providing families dealing with life threatening illnesses with free and 
delivered nutrient-rich meals, nutrition education and a community of support. We use 
whole, fresh and organic/chemical free foods to support healing and recovery.

 Nutrition Education: Educating our local community about the synergy of fresh, healthy 
foods, strong social networks, local sustainable agriculture, healing and wellness.

 Community Support: Providing an intergenerational and multicultural program to connect people to one another as a valued part of the community.

Impact Statement: To support health of the community by restoring the place of naturally 
produced, local, farm fresh foods at our table and promote the vital relationship of these 
foods to our health. Creating compassionate, caring connections is at the heart of our work. 
We wish to develop collaborative partnerships to strengthen the community while more 
efficiently utilizing community services.

Revive and Thrive Project Grand Rapids, MI   616-581-4103

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Annual Meeting is Wednesday April 29 6:30pm

Hello CoOp Members and Producers!

It's that time of the year again when we invite everyone to our annual meeting.  On Wednesday, April 29 at 6:30pm we will be at the CoOp building at 1475 Michigan St. NE to discuss the "state of the CoOp". 

The meeting will begin with an introduction to our current board members.  Following that we will hear an overview of our accomplishments over the past year, with reports from each committee. We will also give a financial report, including our budget and projections for this coming year.

There are two board seats up for election this year.  If you are interested in running, please contact Danielle at .  If you are a producer, committee member, or have volunteered more than five times in the past year, you may cast a vote for the Board of Directors.

This year, we would like to get more involvement form our members and producers on our committees.  The board would like to see more of the actions initiated at the committee level to allow the board members to focus more on long-range goals.  For more information on our Committees, please refer to this link

 If you have been considering getting more involved, or have questions or ideas to share, this is your chance! 

We will also be serving refreshments, so it will be a nice chance to mingle with fellow members and producers.  For planning purposes, please send an email to if you are going to attend.  We hope to see you there.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Membership Gift Certificates Now Available!

We posted this amazing stat on our facebook page, but as the shopping season ramps up, we thought it was worth taking another look at.

  Have you ever considered giving a gift of a membership to The West Michigan Cooperative to one of your local "foodie" friends?  If you are interested in purchasing one, inquire at pickup night or email us at

Happy Holidays!!

Holiday Date Changes: Mark Your Calendars!

Hello CoOp Members!

We hope your holiday plans are coming together without a hitch.  While you are planning your festivities, please remember these important changes to our usual schedule.

  • November pickup night happens on Tuesday, November 25 (we move it up a day to allow time before your turkey day).  We will see you there to get all of your holiday table goodies.  This is traditionally one of our busiest nights, so come prepared to transport all of your goods.

  • December shopping cycle is moved up by a week, as well as our December pickup night.  Shopping cycle starts the Monday morning after Thanksgiving (December 1), and runs through Monday night (December 8).

  • December pickup night is Wednesday, December 17th.

Have safe and happy travels this holiday season!