Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Foodies, Farmers, and Friends! A Fulton Street Farmers Market Fundraiser

We are pleased to be a part of this fundraising event for the Fulton Street Farmers Market renovations.  We will have an information booth at the event.  If you'll be in attendance, stop by and say hello!

Tuesday, June 22
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Mason Jones in Gaslight Village

Click here for more information.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Volunteer Appreciation Party 2012

Our Volunteer Appreciation Party was a great success this year! We gathered at Bistro Bella Vita and enjoyed local food and drinks. Here are some pictures from the event:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Candidates: Board of Directors

West Michigan Co-op's Board of Director's annual meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 13, at 6:30 p.m. at Media Rare (1111 Godfrey SW). All members and producers are encouraged to attend.
At the meeting, a vote will be held to fill several open positions on the board. The candidates running for these positions were asked to submit a statement about themselves so that the voters can get to know them a little better. Below are those candidate statements.

Charissa Huang
Dear Co-op Community:
I am so excited about the prospect of serving this community as a member of your Board. The Co-op is one of those rare venues in our community where people from very diverse walks of life come together for a good, common purpose. That’s the great thing about food – it brings people together.
By day, I am an attorney with Smith, Haughey, Rice & Roegge in Grand Rapids where I represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies in construction and land disputes, employment issues, and immigration matters. Formerly, I served as a mediator in the courts where I mediated conflicts among opposing parties in landlord/tenant, commercial, and auto accident disputes, helping people to achieve practical solutions through interest based negotiation.
On a personal note, I was raised in West Michigan. In 1979, my parents immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan, where my paternal grandfather, great grandfather, and great great grandfather, etc. were farmers. Of course, the produce they farmed was quite a bit different (e.g. mangos, guavas, papayas) from the produce grown here in West Michigan, but the goals and values were one in the same. I am a bona fide foodie. My favorite vegetables are pea shoots, and my favorite meal is sloppy joes. I have a fondness of strong cheeses.
As a member of the Board, I would utilize my skills in advocacy and conflict resolution to help the Co-op to achieve its goals for growth and development, while facilitating open and productive dialogue among board members, producers, and consumers. I believe in supporting and developing sustainable solutions that support local businesses and respect the environment. I believe in feeding people healthy and ethically produced food. Whether or not I am elected to the Board, I look forward to serving my community in a way that positively influences our local economy and environment.
Thank you very much for your consideration!

Janet Tlapek
My education and experience is in accounting. I am a sole- practitioner certified public accountant with accounting experience over different industries and an emphasis in activity- based- costing.

Although I still do accounting, in January of 2011 I opened Facility Kitchens, which is a commercial rental kitchen serving West Michigan local food producers, (located in Lowell, Michigan www.facilitykitchens.com ). It was Facility Kitchens that sparked by interest in local food. (Or was it my interest in local food that sparked me to open Facility Kitchens? I am not sure.)

Facility Kitchens is part of the circle that makes up the local food market. We serve people who prepare, produce, and package food for sell. Facility Kitchens has provided a volunteer each month on pick up nights. We do not sell food so we are free to help the co-op on pick up nights. We have enjoyed this great connection into the local food community. So many people at so many different levels come together to make local food available and volunteering helps us be part of it.

I researched the co-op and its committees. My first impulse is to work with the producer committee.
However, I am open. There must be nearly unlimited things needed to bring together the West Michigan Co-op and I would like to help this next year as part of the board of directors.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

Caryn Rasch
"I joined the West Michigan Co-Op about two years ago, and I have volunteered at most pick-up nights ever since. That has been so much fun that I decided to join the Membership Committee a few months ago. Now I send the shopping and pick-up reminder emails. I look forward to seeing what else I can do with the Co-op by serving on the board.  

My first job was at the 28th Street Farmer’s Market selling produce. I’ve enjoyed going to farmer’s markets ever since and like knowing where my food comes from. Now, for almost six years, I have worked for Kent County in the Bureau of Equalization. I am an appraiser for commercial and industrial properties. Before that I was a residential appraiser for about ten years.

Thank you for considering me for the West Michigan Co-Op Board. "

 Caryn Rasch
Bureau of Equalization
Appraisal Division

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Volunteer Appreciation Party! March 7

Hello Dedicated Volunteers!

Just a reminder to those volunteers who donated more than 5 evenings of their time last year; It's time to be rewarded!  On Wednesday evening March 7 at 6:30pm we will be hosting a lovely and casual party at Bistro Bella Vita to say thanks for all you do.  Chef Aaron will be preparing delicious treats donated by our producers and the tab is on us.  You should have already received a personal invite from the volunteer email address, so don't forget to respond and RSVP.  Very often we only get to see one another under the hustle and bustle of a pickup night, so it is a real treat to get to have a leisurely chat and some laughs over a lovely meal.  I know not all of the volunteers know each other, but I do know quite a few of you, and I will be the first to say that it is a very friendly and endearing bunch.  I really hope that all of you can attend.  It is a great opportunity to meet some really nice people and catch up with some of your local farmers who would also like to thank you for help.  Please RSVP to volunteerwmcoop@gmail.com

Monday, February 27, 2012

How and Why to Research the Food You Buy

"If we took time to research anything, it seems it would be worth researching arguably the one thing (above all else) that could have the single largest impact on our health, on the health of the environment, and let's face it, basic human enjoyment -- food."

-- From "An Egg, Is an Egg, Is an Egg. Except It's Not." By Cara Rosaen

Click here to read the complete article.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Annual Meeting Tuesday March 13, 6:30pm

Annual Meeting
Tuesday March 13, 2012 6:30 PM

1111 Godfrey Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

The West Michigan Cooperative is run by Producer and Member volunteers. Because we are all
volunteers, our overhead costs are low and fees to members and producers are kept at a minimum.
We need input from both Producers and Members at the Annual Meeting every year so that the West Michigan Cooperative can move forward and make necessary improvements to remain a successful business.
You are requested to attend the Annual Meeting so that you can find out what the Board of Directors
has accomplished in 2011 and bring new things to the table for the 2012. We will also be electing new
board members to replace those whose terms have expired.

Part of being a Cooperative is “cooperation” – we need everyone to pitch in to make the co-op a
success. Which opportunity to help looks interesting to you?

Board of Directors:
Has a minimum of 6 and maximum of 9 members, there are 2-4 seats open
The board meets once a month
Board members oversee the operation of the co-op and plan for its future
Community Relations – promote the co-op to members of our community
Member Relations – help coordinate volunteers for pickup and plan member events
Producer Relations – review potential producers and track producer licenses
Website Committee - oversee and manage the co-op website
New Building Committee – research potential future locations for the co-op
Pickup Night – greeters, checkout, setup and tear down
After Pickup – coordinate closing of the shopping cycle the day after pickup
Events – promote the co-op at various events in the community

Be at 1111 Godfrey on March 13th  at 6:30 and let us know where you can help and what ideas you can share.
RSVP at (616) 951-3287

See you there,

Georgia Monroe, President
Board of Directors