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!!