Friday, December 18, 2009

West Michigan Co-Op in the News

Rapid Growth, a Grand Rapids weekly online magazine, recently posted an article titled, "Shop for Your Crops" about Grand Rapids residents shopping for fresh, local produce. West Michigan Co-Op was featured in the article, as well as some local CSA farms.

Click here to read the story.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Message from Healthy Living Technology

What follows is a message from Michael Hedrick of Healthy Living Technology:


You may have seen or purchased one of the bath ball filters I recently had listed on the Co-op web site. They were selling for $59.95 each. Well this last month when my supplier for shower filters discontinued my favorite/best-selling shower filter from their inventory I decided to contact the manufacturer directly.

Now, not only do I have my favorites available again, but since I cut out the middleman the prices have come down on many products. The $59.95 bath ball is now $29.99!!! To celebrate I have created a special price list for you that is good only until December 12th. Don't wait for these items to sell out. They are hot gifts for the upcoming holidays and some may not be available for long (until after the holidays). There is even a special shower for babies!

These filters use the exclusive, patented Chloragon™ filtration media which removes more chlorine over a wider temperature range than any other. I have attached information about the most popular filtration shower heads that I sell. (If you have a showerhead already that you really like, ask me about filters that can be used with your shower head - they are available for both hand-held and regular shower heads.)

I have also attached information on the Bath Ball filters, which use the same Chloragon filtration media, and the dechlorinating bath salts which use Chloragon™ crystals.

Prices are as follows:

Pure-Spray® 5 Shower Handle (brushed nickel) MSRP $83.99 Your cost $79.99
Pure-Spray® 5 Shower Head (brushed nickel) $59.99 Your cost $45.99
Prestige® 3 Shower Head (white w/ chrome trim) $39.99 Your cost $35.99
Bath Ball filter (chrome) $39.99 Your cost $35.99
Bath Ball filter (transparent blue) $34.99 Your cost $30.99
Bath Ball filter (white) $32.99 Your cost $29.99
Mediterranean Bath Salts (dechlorinating) 40 oz. $19.99 Your cost $16.99
Baby Shower (for kitchen faucet or shower attachment) $59.99 Your cost $45.99

These special prices are only valid until December 12 at midnight. After that prices will be the MSRP listed above. Get your order in soon as some of these will sell out with the holidays coming up. Prices will still be honored for orders placed prior to the deadline, but some of the more popular items may be backordered and not arrive until after the holidays.

These items make great holiday presents for your loved ones. Protect them from the negative effects of chlorine on their health!

Additional discounts may be available for orders over $100. Free delivery in West Michigan for all orders.

Thank you for your business!

Monday, December 7, 2009

"Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Announces Partnership With Fair Food Network

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced that USDA has signed a cooperative agreement with the Fair Food Network, a Michigan-based organization working toward improving consumers' access to healthy foods. The agreement lays the foundation for creating a regional food system with a strong urban-rural link by conducting research and matching small and mid-size farms in rural Southeast Michigan to emerging urban markets, particularly Detroit, where there is need and unmet demand for locally-produced fresh foods.

To read more about the USDA's partnership with this Michigan-based organization, click here.

"How Safe Is That Chicken?"

Consumer Reports recently published an article titled "How Safe Is That Chicken?". The article states that most tested broilers were contaminated with salmonella and/or campylobacter. To read the article, click here.

This article is a good reminder of the importance of knowing your farmer and their farming practices. By purchasing your poultry from a West Michigan Co-Op producer, you are able to meet the farmer and learn about their farming practices.

Monday, November 30, 2009

December's Slow Food Book Club Meeting Announcement

December's Slow Food book club meeting will be held on Monday, December 14, from 6:30 to 9:00. For directions, and to RSVP, please email Veronica at

December's book is your choice. Bring a book you recently read or one of your all time favorites to discuss and lend to another member to enjoy.

January's book will be available for you at this meeting as we are participating in KDL's "book club in a bag" program - come see what it is all about!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Reminder: November Slow Food Book Club Meeting

The November Slow Food book club meeting is on Monday, November 16, at 6:30 p.m.

Click here for more information.

For directions and to RSVP, please email Veronica at

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Volunteers Needed for Co-Op Committees and November Pick-Up

The end of the year is closing in and if you haven't been volunteering for the West Michigan Co-op, here are some good reasons to do so:
  • The end of the year Volunteer Appreciation Party will be held in late January. All 2009 volunteers will be invited to enjoy a fabulous meal of local food and beer! :)
  • If you've volunteered 5 times or more in 2009 you will become a Voting Member in 2010.

Volunteer hours include the pick-up nights as well as participation on Committees and with Co-op events. Information on joining a Committee can be found here.

Programming/website development experience is also needed! If you have these skills and are willing to help, please let us know!

November Pick-Up

The Pick-up for this month is going to be on the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving - November 24th - 5:45-8pm. This is typically a big month for us. If you are available to help out please email or visit our forums page .

Volunteer details are as follows:

Tuesday November 24th ~ 5:15pm-8pm (Please note, this time is the time frame for the volunteers to allow time to train and prepare for the pick-up. The actual pick-up time for members is between 5:45-8pm.)

When you email Tara, please let her know which of these options you'd most like to do:

  • Help set up - Must be available to arrive at 4:30pm
  • Adjusters (Adjust members’ invoices on-line) - Must be able to arrive by 5:15 and please plan to stay until around 8:30.
  • Cashiers - Collect and log payments
  • Greeters - Greet members and hand out invoices
  • Floaters - Assist members in collecting their orders
  • Help Direct Check-out - Assist in making sure the check-out process runs smoothly
  • Help Assist Producers - Distribute product and update invoices

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

November Book Club

The next book to read is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Kent District Library has several copies available.

Meeting date is Monday, November 16, 6:30 p.m.

We are looking for a volunteer to host. Please e-mail Veronica at if you are interested and/or if you plan to attend.

We thought it would also be fun to do a cookie exchange! Bring a dozen or two of your favorite cookies to exchange (as well as some extra for the sampling table), along with the recipe, and you take the same amount of assorted cookies home with you. If you have a special beverage that goes well with cookies that you would like to share, please bring it as well.

Hope to see you then!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Reminder: October book club meeting

The October book club meeting is on October 12 at 6:30.

Click here for more information.

For directions and to RSVP, please email Veronica at

Monday, October 5, 2009

Open House: Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters and Awesome Chocolates

Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters
1111 Godfrey Avenue SW
Suite S530 - Fifth Floor
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Work Phone: 616-802-0071
Click here to visit the Web site.

Awesome Chocolates
128 South Main Street
Wayland, MI 49348
Work Phone: 616-581-9690
Click here to visit the Web site.

When: Saturday, October 10, 2009
Time: 9 am - 3 pm
Where: 1111 Godfrey Ave SW, Suite S530- Fifth Floor

Perks: We will provide coffee & espresso samples along with Awesome Chocolate samples. In addition we will have available for sale coffee in pre-packaged 12oz bags and our normal Saturday Special of 2 lbs custom roasted coffee for $16.95. Henry will have chocolates for sale as well as caramel apples. Since we are open to the public on Saturdays, there will be no charge for the tour or samples.

Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters:We are your neighborhood coffee roaster. We roast only the top 10% of premium specialty beans found from the premier growing regions around the world. The beans are handpicked at the peak of ripeness and are meticulously graded by bean size and density. We roast them in small batches with a drum style convection roaster to ensure an even roast throughout the bean. Our roaster is manually operated by only the owners of Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters to ensure a consistent roast. Upon roast completion, we hand pack the coffee in premium packaging and deliver it to our customers. Free delivery on orders of 5 lbs. Call in your order today, and we will deliver it tomorrow. We Use -100% Arabica Coffee - Fair Trade Certified - Organically Grown.

Awesome Chocolates: My name is Henry Klok and I make candy. Not just any candy, but delicious chocolates that are the melt in your mouth kind and I make them all by hand, one at a time. How do I do it? First I arrange fresh roasted nuts (pecans, cashews & peanuts) on a parchment lined tray, and then I give them each a generous heaping dollop of my famous soft & gooey caramel. The caramel is my own secret recipe - so soft, so goooooey. Then I freeze them because I have to - so soft, so gooey - then I dip each piece in my rich chocolate coatings by hand. The chocolate is also my secret recipe. Once you try one of my delicious hand crafted treats you will want more, but that’s a good thing!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Co-Op User Fee Increase

Dear West Michigan Co-Op Vendors and Buyers:

This is to inform you that during the August meeting, the West Michigan Co-Op board voted to increase the user fee from 2% to 5% for vendors and buyers alike, effective beginning the October 2009 cycle. This decision did not come easily but was mandated to ensure Co-Op sustainability and future growth.

Both vendor and buyer comments were taken into consideration, as were the financial statements and forecasted outlook. While the board realizes that this current economic period is difficult for everyone, it feels strongly that the Co-Op must brace itself to ensure viability for all. We hope that everyone will be supportive of this change as we are all striving for the same thing: healthy, local, sustainable food and “green” supplies from healthy, local, sustainable vendors.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Jerry Adams, Executive Director, at the West Michigan Co-Op. He will be happy to help you.


Nathan Creswick,
Board President

Jerry Adams,
Co-Op Director

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Volunteers Needed for Harvest Celebration!

The Horizen Hydroponics Grand Harvest Festival is taking place next weekend, Saturday September 26th 11am-4pm.

What a great way to spend a fall afternoon celebrating the harvest season and talking with people about the West Michigan Co-op! And the best part is that our season doesn't end, it goes straight on through the winter! But how many people don't know that?!

Would you like to help hand out brochures and tell others about the West Michigan Co-op?

Two volunteers are needed for each of the following shifts:
  • 10:30am-noon
  • noon-2:00pm
  • 2:00-4:00pm
The festival location is 1614 Leonard St. NW.

Please email or post a comment on our Volunteering Forum if you are available to help out!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

October Book Club Meeting

Our next book club meeting will be on October 12th at 6:30pm. A volunteer is needed to host, so please contact Veronica at if you are interested!

The book we will be reading is Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India by Madhur Jaffrey. The book is available at Kent District Library - or you can order on-line - or borrow from a friend.

Since we always have food at our meeting we suggest that those attending make one of the recipes in the book - or any Indian dish that they love.

Please respond to Veronica at if you plan on attending.

Happy Reading!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Local First - Eat Local Challenge Dinner - September 17

What: Come follow your food from farm to plate, experience live cooking demonstrations, meet some of the best chefs in town and the farmers they work with, enjoy local, seasonal food and celebrate Michigan beer and wine. Many of your favorite Grand Rapids venues will be present: Bar Divani, Bistro Bella Vita, Patricia's Chocolates, and more!

When: Thursday, September 17 from 5:30 -9:30 PM

Where: San Chez Bistro (38 Fulton SW Grand Rapids, MI 49503)

Tickets: $25. Click here for tickets.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food"

Time magazine recently ran a great story about the state of the agriculture industry in America. The article describes conventional farming methods and the resulting high costs to the environment, the economy, and the health of both humans and animals.

As an alternative to these destructive conventional farming methods, this article describes the importance of sustainable agriculture and the consciousness of food buyers who take the important step to learn where their food comes from and what farming practices are used by that producer.

To read the article, click here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book Club Meeting

The next book we will be reading is Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch.

Schuler's has many available for $13.95, Kent District Library's website shows 3, and it is also available used on Amazon. Sharing is always an option, too.

Meeting date will be Monday, August 31, 6:30 at Viola Bogard's house - 5861 Ethelwin Ave, Belmont 49306. Click here for a map.

Please respond to Veronica at if you plan on attending.

Tour: Grassfield Farm

When: Saturday, August 29, 2009
Time: 10 am
Where: On the farm.
Perks: The tour will include a wagon ride tour of the farm land, seeing the cows, calves and pigs, watch cheese making, taste Organic raw milk cheese samples and see the cheese shop where we sell our grass-fed meats.
Charge: $3.50/person.

About Grassfield Farm:
Grassfields is a WMCoop producer. This family owned and operated farm has been in the family since the early 1920s. In 1992 we switched from confinement dairying to intensive rotational grazing. We enjoy watching our happy animals munching on the grass all summer long, and enjoying the outdoors, even in snow! (They have shelter if they need it, but they prefer to be outside!)

In 2002, we decided to start making raw-milk cheese (we’re the first place in Michigan licensed to make and sell raw milk cheese), and now offer seven different varieties of cheese, along with pastured poultry, eggs, beef, pork, and lamb. The meats are available in our on-farm store in Coopersville, Michigan.

In the spring of 2007, Grassfields was certified Organic! Our cheeses are all certified organic, and better yet, made from raw milk from grass-fed cows! The meats and eggs are steroid, hormone, and antibiotic-free.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Potluck!

Join us on Thursday, August 6th from 6-9pm for local beer, food, and fun!!!

Location: Field at the corner of Hall and Godfrey (across the street from Media Rare's front door entrance).

Bring a favorite summer dish to share and chairs or blankets for your dining comfort.

We will supply the place settings, beer, entertainment, games and a perfect opportunity to hang out with fellow co-op members and friends!

** Music by Badenya!
** Founders Beer!
** Games!
** Great Food!
** Good Times!!!


Hope to see you there!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Highlight on the Green Food Blue Grass Festival

The Green Food Blue Grass festival is this Sunday, July 19th, from 1pm - 9pm, at the Felt Mansion in Laketown Township (near Saugatuck).
The Holland Sentinel published an article highlighting the event. There's a couple things that it doesn't mention:
  • Proceeds of the tickets go toward the Friends of Felt project, which will be establishing a sustainable farming and sustainability learning center on the grounds of the Mansion.
  • 10% of the Food Booth proceeds will go to the Mansion to cover the cost of the Festival.
  • The remaining 90% go to the food booth operators.
  • The West Michigan Co-op in conjunction with Slow Food will be serving food from Co-op farmers.
  • All food vendors at the event were encouraged to use Co-op farmers for their food. We've distributed our farmers' contact information to all the groups involved to get their buy-in.
  • Tickets are $25 per person, or a per-car $80 - if you can get more than three people in your car, that's quite a deal. Carpool!
The article also calls me (Paul DeLeeuw) out as one of the organizers of the event. I'd like to take a moment to highlight all the folks in the Co-op who've been involved in making this happen:
  • Jerry, our Director, who had the original idea for a music festival featuring local food, and has been organizing the food booth in conjunction with Amy Sherman.
  • Tara, our Volunteer Coordinator, who (as always) has been doing a wonderful job rounding up volunteers and assisting in planning the event details.
  • Our wonderful farmers, providing food for our booth.
  • Our core volunteers: (in no particular order) Diane Graves, Scott Steiner, Lisa Nelson (who is at everything!), Andrea Veldman, and Amy Neis and the Neis Family (boy, that sounds like a traveling family band!).
Thank you all so much - the Co-op couldn't do things like this without you.
I hope to see you all out there! And, if you're not familiar with the Mansion Park and Grounds - it's only a half-mile walk to the beach of Lake Michigan. If you want to take a break from the Festival, you're free to walk the trails and relax on the beach!
For more information, and to buy tickets online, see

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Our First Farm Tour of the Season!

Bluegrass not your thing? If you are not planning on attending the Green Food Bluegrass Festival this Sunday, here is another great option - our first farm tour of the season!

Funny Farm Organic Produce - Tour
13181 Centerline
Grant, Mi 49327
Work Phone: 231 834-8643
Online At:

When: Sunday, July 19, 2009
Time: 4pm

Where: Go north on M 37-Alpine Ave past Sparta, Kent City and Casnovia. M 37 curves back to the north just past Casnovia. Stay on M 37 N and go 5 miles to 136th Street.Turn right on 136th St and go 1/2 mile to Centerline Ave. Turn left (only) and go 1/2 mile to farm on left. 13181 Centerline.

Details: Funny Farm is a WMCoop producer. They are second generation farmers farming the 100 acre farm. They tend aprox. 7 acres of USDA Certified Organic mixed vegetables and herbs as well as producing in a 2800 sq. ft. greenhouse built for fall & winter production as a 3 year research project for Michigan State University.

Perks: Drinks and Munchies!!!
Charge: None

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Hello! Paul the Tech Guy here, blogging once again.

Today, we're launching forums on the West Michigan Co-op. You can find them at There's a few forums available to post in, and there will likely be more to come.

We've looked at a lot of software packages to solve the issue of forums, but none of the best options offered integration with our existing log-ins. We didn't want to make you, as a contributor to our community, have to open yet another account and password just to talk to other Co-op'ers. That's a mistake that we made with the Wiki, and I'm certain it's slowed down our use of the wiki as a community tool. And yes, I'm working on bringing the Co-op log-in to the Wiki so everybody who has an account with us can get in and help us document this process together.

We've also got that great short domain name that you see above: - that's a new shortcut name - it'll take you to the same that you've known the past 3 years, but it's shorter and easier to share with friends.

As always, thanks for your support, and if you have any suggestions, feel free to comment below, in the Forums, or email me at!

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Eating Locally Getting Easier, More Delicious"

The Kalamazoo Gazette recently ran an editorial about the local food movement. It begins as follows:

"Whether you're interested in healthy eating, the health of the region's economy or the health of farm animals, it seems the "local food" movement is a good prescription."

The article discusses the ways in which buying locally grown food is beneficial for health, economic, and environmental reasons.

Then head on over to the West Michigan Co-Op for some "window shopping" of local food options here in West Michigan. Get your shopping list ready, because the Co-Op's next shopping cycle begins on July 4 and runs through July 10.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The West Michigan Co-Op Needs YOU!

Would you be able to volunteer on behalf of the West Michigan Co-Op at an upcoming event?

The Co-Op will have an informational table at each of the events listed below and we need your help to staff these tables! Both events are this Saturday, June 13.

If you are able to volunteer for a shift, please contact Tara at

Event: Local First Street Party
Date: Saturday, June 13.
Time: Begins at 4:00.
Location: In front of Bistro Bella Vita in downtown Grand Rapids.

Event: First Annual Master Grilling Cook-Off
Date: Saturday, June 13.
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Location: Modern Hardware - 1500 Kalamazoo Ave. - Grand Rapids

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Book Club, brought to you by the West Michigan Slow Foods

The West Michigan Co-op is joining up with Slow Foods for a joint Book Club!! Below is information on the upcoming book to read and meeting details.  

Please RSVP to Veronica if you plan to attend:  

Monday, June 29, 6:30 pm 
Location: TBD 
Book: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Those attending are encouraged to bring a dish from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If a NY broad can do it, so can you!  

Both books are available at Kent District Library in a variety of media.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Green Food Blue Grass Festival - Volunteers?

There is a tremendous opportunity to help out and get involved with this great event taking place at the Felt Mansion in Holland on Sunday July 19th!!

And with many benefits! All volunteers for a four hour shift will receive a free t-shirt, free admission into the concert, and an option to be paid minimum wage or waive payment to receive a ticket to a future Felt Mansion event (culinary event or Christmas tour)!

Of course if you feel that any of these benefits are enough payment for your time, please feel free to decline any or all of them and help contribute to the restoration of the Felt Estate and Shore Acres Farm even more! See for more information.

All volunteers must attend one of the following training sessions (time does not count towards the required 4 hour shift):

- Tuesday July 14th 7:30-8:30pm
- Saturday July 18th 10-11am
- Sunday July 19th 10-11am

All ticket sales volunteers and those serving alcohol will also need to be TIPS certified. TIPS training is at the Felt Mansion on Tuesday July 14th 5:30-7:30pm.

Event Volunteers are needed for the following tasks:

Set-up - including putting up signs and small tents, setting up tables, etc.
Saturday July 18th 11am-3pm
Sunday July 19th 11am-1pm

Parking Attendants - help direct traffic
Sunday July 19th - 1-5pm, 2-6pm, 3-7pm OR 4-8pm

Ticket Sales - sell tickets, check ID's, issue wrist bands
Sunday July 19th - 1-5pm, 2-6pm, 3-7pm OR 4-8pm

General Staff - on the look out for underage drinking, people wandering into the event without a wristband, etc.
Sunday July 19th - 1-5pm, 2-6pm, 3-7pm OR 4-8pm

Beer Tent - New Holland Brewing Company - serve beer!
Sunday July 19th - 1-5pm, 2-6pm, 3-7pm OR 4-8pm

Beer Tent - Miller Lite - serve beer!
Sunday July 19th - 1-5pm, 2-6pm, 3-7pm OR 4-8pm

Wine Tent - Fenn Valley - serve wine!
Sunday July 19th - 1-5pm, 2-6pm, 3-7pm OR 4-8pm

Wine Tent - Corkscrews - serve wine!
Sunday July 19th - 1-5pm, 2-6pm, 3-7pm OR 4-8pm

Please let me know if you are interested in helping out and for which task and shift. Also please indicate which training session you plan to attend.

If interested in volunteering, email

For more information see!


Friday, May 29, 2009

Grand Rapids Water Festival

The Water Festival will take place on Saturday, June 20, at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids.

This festival celebrates the water that surrounds us here in Michigan and includes live music, speakers, workshops, and more. Come check it out!

For more information about the Grand Rapids Water Festival, please click here.

Local First Street Party

Local First's 6th Annual Street Party will take place on Saturday, June 13, beginning at 4:00 p.m. in front of Bistro Bella Vita in Grand Rapids.

Over 12,000 people are expected to attend this celebration of local food, local beer, and local music. Don't miss it!

For more information about the Street Party, and to view the band line-up, please click here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Food for Thought" - Local Food in West Michigan

Rapid Growth recently published an article titled, "Food for Thought," about Grand Rapids area restaurants and businesses that buy local food.

The article describes the benefits -- to the restaurants/businesses, local farmers, and the local economy in general -- of purchasing local food. It also notes how buying local food is a movement that is gaining momentum.

Click here to read the article.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Saugatuck Green Food Bluegrass Tickets Go On Sale

The following is a Press Release regarding the Green Food Bluegrass festival. The West Michigan Co-op is a sponsor of this event - many (if not most) of the foods served at the festival will be grown by our WMCo-op farmers.

Friends of the Felt Estate invite you, your friends, and your family to a bluegrass festival at the Felt Mansion on Sunday, July 19. Enjoy locally grown picnic fare as you listen to some of Michigan’s finest bluegrass bands.

The music begins at one o’clock with Full Cord and continues all afternoon with a new group taking the stage at the top of each hour: Who Hit John? at 2:00, Nobody’s Darlin’ at 3:00, Ruth and Max Bloomquist Band at 4:00, and Detour at 5:00. We invite you to stay for the main event at 6:00: the long awaited, much anticipated reunion of bluegrass legends Cabbage Crik. The band members may look a bit different these days, but a performance 30 years in the making is not to be missed! Judging from the sounds of their most recent rehearsal, they have only gotten better with time.

With all this good music and fresh air, you’re sure to have an appetite. Local vendors will be on hand to serve you food proudly grown by the farmers of the West Michigan Co-op. With everything from grilled chicken, bratwurst, pulled pork sandwich, or veggie pita, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

What about your thirst on a hot summer afternoon? New Holland Brewing Company, Saugatuck Brewing Company, Miller and Miller Lite, Fenn Valley Winery, and Corkscrews Winery are there to help you out. The Hudsonville High School Water Polo Team will also be sponsoring a tent stocked with non-alcoholic beverages.

Tickets for the first annual Saugatuck Green Food Bluegrass Festival go on sale Friday, May 1st. You can buy tickets online ( or by visiting the Saugatuck-Douglas CVB, or the Holland Area CVB. Remember: buying tickets in advance saves you money as does packing your vehicle with four or more people!

All proceeds from the Green Food Bluegrass festival benefit the restoration and the LEED certification process for the Felt Estate. For more details about the event, and to purchase tickets, visit: and click on the Green Food Bluegrass box. See you on Sunday, July 19!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Earth Day Celebration at Aquinas College

The Earth Day Celebration at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids will be held on Wednesday, April 22nd. The public is welcome to attend. Events will include a Farmer’s Market and a concert by Breathe Owl Breathe.

Earth Day Farmer’s Market

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Location: In front of the Wege Center at Aquinas College

Breathe Owl Breathe Concert

Time: 8:00 PM

Location: The Moose Café (located on the first floor of the cook Carriage House) at Aquinas College.

Cost: $5

Friday, April 17, 2009

First Annual Master Grilling Cook-Off!

The first annual Master Grilling Cook-Off will take place at Modern Hardware in Grand Rapids on Saturday, June 13. Click here to read more about the event.

Interested in becoming involved in the event? They're currently in need of the following:
  • 4-person grill teams
  • Live music and entertainment
  • Local artists
  • Restaurants/food vendors
  • Sponsors
  • Judges

For more information, please contact Rod Glupker at (616) 241-2655 or (616) 291-9558 or by email.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Urban Farming in Ypsilanti

The article, “Collective Efforts,” published in the Detroit Metro Times today describes one family’s quest toward producing sustainable agriculture by way of urban farming.

The article tells the story of Peter Thomason, who lives in downtown Ypsilanti. In his backyard, Thomason grows crops in a new greenhouse which was constructed using recycled materials. In addition, he has a small barn in his backyard which houses chickens, rabbits, and goats.

Click here to read the article.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Extended Shopping Window

Due to the ordering period coinciding with Spring Break we have extended the shopping window for this month until Tuesday April 14th at midnight.

Pick up is on Earth Day, Wed. April 22nd, 5:45-8pm.

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Volunteers Needed!

Help Promote the West Michigan Co-Op by Volunteering for an Event.

The word is getting out about the West Michigan Co-op and we've been invited to participate in a number of events over the next few months! These are great opportunities to inform people about the co-op and benefits of eating locally and supporting our local farmers and economy.

But we need your help!! Would you be willing to volunteer at one or more of these events? They each involve the WM Co-op having a table/booth to hand out pamphlets, talk about the co-op, and sell co-op T-shirts and bags. Two people will be scheduled for each shift.

The shift times vary, and feel free to offer to work a double (the shifts aren't very long)! :) I can provide you with further specifics on the event(s) that you are available to help with and any necessary information/training.

Many of these events need a commitment from us within the next couple weeks, so please let us know ASAP if you are willing to help out! Please respond to

  • When: Saturday April 18th
    What: Grand Rapids Public Library Indoor Farmers Market
    Where: Downtown Library
    Shifts: 10:00am - noon
    noon - 3:00pm

  • When: Saturday April 18th
    What: Kent District Library Green Living Fair
    Where: EGR Library
    Shifts: 10:00am - noon
    noon - 2:00pm

  • When: Sunday April 19th
    What: WMEAC Earth Week Expo - Richie Hovens concert
    Where: Fountain St. Church
    Shifts: 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    9:00pm - 10:00pm

  • When: Wednesday April 22nd
    What: Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber's Staff Earth Day Celebration
    Where: 1515 Arboretum Dr. SE
    Shift: 11:30am - 1:30pm

  • When: Wednesday April 29th
    What: Clark Retirement Village event
    Where: 2250 East Paris SE at their Cultural Center
    Shifts: 11:00am - 1:00pm
    1:00pm - 3:30pm

  • When: Thursday April 30th
    What: Lakeside Elementary Earth Week Local Business Expo
    Where: Lakeside Elementary School - 2325 Hall SE
    Shift: 8:30am - 9:30am

  • When: Wednesday May 20th
    What: State Farm Insurance Health & Fitness Day
    Where: TBA
    Shifts: 10:00am - noon
    noon - 2:30pm
    2:30pm - 5:00pm

  • When: Saturday June 20th
    What: Water Festival
    Where: Riverside Park
    Shifts: 10:30am - 12:30pm
    12:30pm - 2:30pm
    2:30pm - 4:30pm
    4:30pm - 6:30pm

Please respond to if you're interested in volunteering.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Write your Congress Critters

Typically, the Co-op Blog doesn't comment on political issues; we generally don't want to present any kind of bias viewpoint. Local and Sustainable Food isn't a party issue - so bias wouldn't be necessary.

In this case, there's an unusual situation. The House currently has a bill sitting in the House Committee on Agriculture (HR 875) which regulates food safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009. Undoubtedly, this title was chosen so that we can all feel safer about our peanut butter.

The bill, however, dictates significant new powers to the Federal Government to regulate our food system. While this is probably good in some cases - like the aforementioned peanut butter - it can have a detrimental effect on our small-scale, local growers.

I would highly recommend that you read the text of the bill, over at

The bill regulates food processing facilities (like slaughterhouses, packaging plants, and warehouses), and many of these regulations may be acceptable.

However, the bill also regulates food production facilities - which it defines as "any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation" - Section 3, Paragraph 14.

Section 206 of the bill is the specific regulation on Food Production Facilities, where it defines the powers of the Federal Government to regulate the use of fertilizers, nutrients, packaging, etc.

It does not, however, give details of the kinds of fertilizers that would be regulated, or possibly required, for food production. It also doesn't specify exemptions for small-scale farms. It puts several new regulations on safety practice documentation.

The letter of this law concerns me. Its intent is noble, I'm sure - we all want our food to be safe. But, you shouldn't need to employ a lawyer and a science team to be allowed to grow and sell carrots. I urge you to take a look at the bill. You can coment on it at, or better yet - write Rep. Mark Schauer from Michigan, our representative on the House Committee of Agriculture.

At a minimum, I think there are some serious questions about this bill. Read it and let us know what you think!

Monday, March 16, 2009

10 Ways to Become More Involved

Interested in taking part in the inter-workings of the West Michigan Co-op? There is a lot that takes place behind the scenes on a monthly basis to make it possible to acquire great delicious local food & products year round! And we can use your help! Here are 10 ways to become more involved:

1.) Join the Vision Committee! They are meeting tonight at 6pm at the Co-op location - 1111 Godfrey SW. Come and check it out or contact Tom Cary if you are interested.

*Future Growth
*Research options for expansion, including logistics, costs, rate of
growth, etc.

2.) Join the Membership Committee! This committee will be meeting on Monday March 23rd, 6pm at the Co-op - 1111 Godfrey SW. Come and join us or contact Tara Simmons if you are interested in more information.

*Volunteer & pick-up coordination
*Address issues that arise concerning members and volunteers
*Determine guidelines & policies that pertain to membership
*Increase volunteer base
*Volunteer on pick-up nights & help supervise
*Come up with ideas on how the pick-up can be more efficient
*Create & update the Membership Handbook

3.) Join the PR Committee! Contact Lisa Nelson for meeting dates and further information.

*Work to increase co-op membership
*Attend events, hand out brochures, talk about the co-op
*Plan co-op events, advertisements, flyers, etc.
*Blog relevant information concerning events & education
*Plan and coordinate farm tours

4.) Join the Product Committee! Contact Paul DeLeeuw for meeting dates and further information.

*Use programming skills to update and make changes to our website
*Review site to make sure all of the information is current and
*Maintain entries on the blog
*Add information and keep the Wiki up to date

6.) Volunteer on Pick-up nights! The March pick-up is Wed. March 25th. Contact Tara Simmons if you are interested in helping out!

7.) Volunteer for Co-op events! There are numerous events coming up that we will have a presence at. If you are interested in helping to promote the WM Co-op at these events please contact Tara Simmons.

8.) Attend board meetings and/or review meeting minutes online! Board meeting dates for 2009 can be found on our calendar and minutes are posted regularly.

9.) Regularly check the Co-op Calendar! Here you will find all the
important dates, including ordering periods, pick-up dates, meetings
and events.

10.) Help spread the word! Tell family and friends and everyone you
meet about the West Michigan Co-op! Send them to!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

WM Co-op on WYCE

Community Radio junkies take note!

Jerry Adams and Paul DeLeeuw - your Co-op Director and Tech Guy - are going to be on WYCE's Catalyst Radio tomorrow (March 6, 2009). We'll be on at 12:00 noon, talking about what we love: our co-op, how it works, and how we're growing it.

If you're going to miss it, you can catch the interview online as well at the Catalyst Radio Webpage.

Rock & Roll!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Meet your new board!

Congratulations to Kris Van Haitsma and Lisa Nelson, who became the newest members of the Board last night. Georgia Monroe was reelected to remain on the Board. In addition to the two new members, Christina Radisauskas became the Alternate Board member, meaning she will be attending the meetings and ready to step in should a Board member leave for any reason.

You can always see what your Board is up to on the Co-op's wiki and contact them there.

Thank you to everyone who was in attendance at last night's Annual Meeting.

The next meeting is next Tuesday, March 10 at 6:30 pm. We always encourage our members to participate in our meetings and look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Board Meetings

We invite all our members to come to our board meetings. We've got one tonight at 6:30, which is our annual meeting and another one next week on March 10 at 6:30 pm.

You can keep up with what your board is up to on the Co-op wiki where we post all the Board Meeting Minutes, along with the next month's meeting agendas. Be sure to check them out if you can't make the meetings.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Keep up!

Want to know what your hardworking Board members are up to? We publish all our minutes online and list our meeting dates.

Check it out at

Annual Board Meeting

This is just a reminder that the West Michigan Co-op Annual Board Meeting is next week Tuesday March 3rd, 6:30pm at Media Rare, 1111 Godfrey SW.

Everyone is invited to attend. Voting members will be voting in 3 new board members as well as one alternate. All Board nominee profiles can be viewed below! Check them out!

Hope to see you on Tuesday!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Amy Neis -- Board Nominee

So, who would have thought writing a biography for the co-op would turn into such an exercise?

My first attempt came across sounding more like my college resume and although interesting in it’s own right, didn’t seem to pinpoint the information you might be looking for to let you know my qualifications for the board.

My second try was very up-lifting, I used words like “yes we can” and “a change we can believe in”, but it seemed like I had heard it before and worried you might feel that way too.

So, on my third attempt I decided the best thing would just be to tell you why..… why I feel strongly about the co-op and why that in turn would make me interested for a seat on the board.

My experience with the co-op goes back to the initial sign-up date at the Wealthy Theatre. As a family, the summer farmer’s market was already a big part of our life, so the thought of getting our food local and year round was very exciting.

After a couple of order cycles, I knew the co-op was not only something I believed in, but something I wanted to become more involved in. I wanted to help make it grow and make it better. So, as a family, we started volunteering on producer drop-off and membership pick-up times.

Soon committees formed, and again, I was interested to see where I could contribute. I signed onto the membership committee, which was/is a great experience, as it has opened up new ways to take part and contribute to the whole operation.

As I bring this to a close, I realize I have no ending for my co-op biography, because either on the board or off the board, I plan to keep adding to it. The next paragraph will be up to the voting members. I’ll look forward to seeing what I get to write next.

Amy Neis

Lisa Nelson -- Board Nominee

Hello, West Michigan Co-Op Members:

My name is Lisa Nelson and I am asking for your vote to represent you on the West Michigan Co-Op Board on March 3, 2009. Currently I am a volunteer at most Co-Op Pick-up nights and attend Board meetings regularly. I am a committee member on the following 4 Co-Op committees: Vision, Producer, Web and Public Relations Committees. I also maintain the Co-Op License Book and have attended several Farm Tours and Co-Op Events. I have been a member since the original Wealthy Theater kick-off of the West Michigan Co-Op.

I am very passionate about the West Michigan Co-Op! As the granddaughter of a Michigan Farmer, I know how important it is to have a close relationship with the land and how important it is for us to live in a society valuing, protecting and respecting our farmland, ecosystem and the green organic value of our environment. I also believe in the Co-Op benefit of promoting a natural, healthy food distribution while supporting the sustainability of our local communities. This includes partnering with other efforts like Local First, Farms without Harm and Slow Food.

Your membership in the Co-Op is important to you. As a board member, I promise to listen to all your input and ideas and represent you with integrity. I am particularly interested in opportunities to promote education, expand our online community dialogs and grow our Co-Op to support the underserved members of our community. More opportunities for producers to promote their products and more product availability on our ever-evolving website would help to grow our Co-Op and benefit our current and new members.

If elected, I promise to work hard to represent you. I believe the strength of the Co-Op is its members. Whether you are a member, producer or volunteer; I ask for your vote on March 3, 2009 at the annual board meeting. Together we can make the West Michigan Co-Op continue its Amazing growth in 2009!

Lisa M. Nelson, ACS, CL

Aquinas College, BA Business, Art Major
GRCC, Associates Degree Data Processing
Blue Heron Academy Massage Therapy Graduate
Blue Heron Academy Herbalist Certificate
Former Chicago DAMA Information Exchange Coordinator
Former West Mich. PMI VP Membership
2009 District 62 Winners Circle Editor
2009 West Michigan Advanced Club VP PR/Webmaster
2009 Foremost Club 7311, President

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kris Van Haitsma - Board Nominee

Kris Van Haitsma
Hydroponic Lettuce Grower
Mud Lake Farm, LLC

Kris grew up in Tampa, FL and attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, graduating with a BS in Biology. She worked for about 18 years as an Organic Chemist for a local environmental testing laboratory. After attempting to balance both farming and working part-time for about a year and a half, she left the lab to pursue her interests in farming full-time. She is married to Steve, and they have three children, ages 13 to 17.

Kris is the owner of Mud Lake Farm, a small hydroponic farm that focuses on growing a variety of lettuces, herbs, and greens hydroponically, as well as other vegetables and herbs grown "organically". While the farm is not certified organic, the Van Haitsmas do endeavor to follow organic principles. No pesticides or herbicides are used, but they utilize beneficial insects and scouting to manage pests. They also attempt to grow products that are relatively uncommon, and those that can be grown using more permanent plantings (i.e., arctic kiwis, hazelnuts, elderberries, & paw paws). While all of these plantings are still in their infancy, hopefully they will yield some tasty, unique products in the future. The Van Haitsmas raise various animals, and seek ways to integrate all aspects of their farm to minimize inputs, purchasing as many inputs as possible from local sources.

Kris has been involved in the West Michigan Co-op since it's inception, and has participated in almost every order cycle so far, as both producer and customer. She looks forward to becoming even more involved in the vision and operation of the Co-op by serving on the board.

Christina Radisauskas - Board Nominee

Christina Radisauskas is a librarian at Aquinas College, where she is also the chair of the faculty Sustainability Committee.

Since she heard about it in the summer of 2007, she's volunteered her time at the Co-Op in several capacities: Chair and member of the public relations and membership committees, volunteer supervisor on pick-up and drop-off nights, and Co-Op brochure/information pusher at many community events.

She likes to make pies when fruit is in season, has a cat named Obo, and has a super sweet bicycle that you might see her riding around town as soon as the snow is gone.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Upcoming Board Meetings.

The West Michigan Co-op board will be meeting Tuesday, February 10th, at 6:30pm to prepare for our annual meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd, at 6:30pm.

Both meetings will be held at Media Rare, 1111 Godfrey SW, and everyone is encouraged to attend.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Why I Love the Co-Op

Yesterday (Saturday) morning, I went grocery shopping. Did I battle the throngs of people at the local grocery store who also do their weekly grocery shopping on Saturday mornings? No, I did not.

Rather, I sat at home, in front of the computer, wearing my pajamas, and eating a bowl of cereal while grocery shopping.

A year ago, my husband and I joined West Michigan Co-op. Through this organization, local farmers post their products on the Co-op's web site, and then consumers/members of the Co-op purchase food from the farmers through the web site. You order the food online (which is what I was doing yesterday), and then go pick it up at the designated pick-up date and location.

Besides being able to do a portion of my monthly grocery shopping in my pajamas while eating breakfast, here are some other reasons why I love the Co-op:
  • Support local farmers.
  • Get fresher food (its not shipped from South America like a lot of the food in grocery stores).
  • Much more environmentally friendly.
  • You can read about each of the farms and their farming practices before ordering their products.
  • You can select foods that are certified organic, free-range, grass fed, pesticide free, etc.
  • You can minimize dealing with the shopping cart traffic jams and long check-out lines that occur in traditional grocery stores.
Yes, you might pay slightly more for buying through the Co-op compared to a traditional grocery store. However, the Co-op farmers often put their products on sale too.

And while you're writing your check, think about the good that you're doing. It's win-win for everyone: the Earth, West Michigan farmers, and you.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Hello, everybody! It's Paul, your friendly Co-op Tech Guy.

You may have noticed a slightly different look on the home page today. This refreshed look was wrapped into our version 1.2 software update.

We've done a lot of work on the back-end of the software (the database things you don't - and don't want to - see). Hopefully, this in addition to some changes to the look and organization of the site will help you get shopping faster.

This also puts a stronger foundation in place for us to add new features, and further organize the current ones. Our software has been in a constant state of change with our continuing growth - we appreciate your patience as there have certainly been growing pains at times!

If you notice any errors today, go ahead and email I've added myself on to that list for this cycle so that I can get a handle on any bugs that crop up with the new software - and there's sure to be some!

Finally, it might be interesting to note that we have also open-sourced our software. Information is available at What this means is that other people can now start the work of opening their own online co-op in their area - and they have a head-start by downloading and using our software.

Thanks everybody - shop early, shop often!

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Light Bulb guy

I hear alot of people refer to Michael Hedrick as the light bulb guy! That's because his booth is usually lit up with his line of energy-efficient, full-spectrum light bulbs.

The actual company name is Healthy Living Technology, and he sells WAY more than just light bulbs. Last month I finally purchased the Living Water All-In-One Showerhead w/ filter. The showerhead has a replaceable filter that takes out chlorine, sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen sulfide. I became concerned about the chemicals and toxins you absorb and inhale during showers, and Healthy Living Technology had the solution. I chose the handheld model since I also have a big dog I routinely bath (can't wait to try it!)

You can also get whole house air and water purification systems, as well as a slew of other feel good products.

So next time you're picking up your order, be sure to swing by the Light Bulb guy and take a peak at what else is for sale!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Volunteer Appreciation Party

Here are some photos from West Michigan Co-Op's volunteer appreciation party which was held on December 4. The party included a full meal prepared with food grown and produced locally, local beer and a raffle.

Thank you to all of the Co-Op's volunteers!

Add Image

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Photos of December's Pick-Up

Steven Depolo, who did some interviews for an article he's writing for the February edition of Revue, took some wonderful photos at our last pick up. Be sure to check them out!.