Quarter Two Board Report
Liz Kolbe, Board Member & Treasurer

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. Birthday resolutions are slightly more my style (I did a few weeks of push-ups the summer I turned 30…). But that doesn’t mean I’ve never made a resolution that lasted. Just that the most successful resolutions I’ve made have occurred when the momentum arises naturally, and I find myself able to decide once, with conviction, and stick with it.

For example: Before living in Ames, I lived in Wooster, OH. When I first moved to Wooster, I didn’t know anyone, so I started volunteering at the local food co-op to fill my free time and hopefully, make some friends. Since college I’d been an eager cook, and had dabbled in the world of vegetable CSAs and grass-fed beef. I was knowledgeable about the food system and considered myself a “buy local” supporter, with the t-shirts, tote-bags, and a signed copy of The Omnivore’s Dilemma to prove it. Did I feel good about myself when I bought local? Yes. Did I do it all the time? No. Why? I could say convenience and access, which would be partially true. But also, I just hadn’t decided to yet.

While at that food co-op in Wooster (it’s called Local Roots), for the first time, I suddenly did have consistent access to locally-produced meat, dairy, eggs, fruits and vegetables, bread, preserves, and other goods. But grocery is a tough business, and so is farming, and so is opening a new business. The Co-op was in its early years and the future wasn’t all roses. The decision became apparent, and the choice was easy. “I will shop here first, always. Even if the same product is available at another store, I will buy it here.” No need for the graphic tees anymore, I had decided to live my message through my purchasing power. My farming friends and the fellow consumer-members of Local Roots Co-op had built a place that allowed me to make an easy decision, a one-time decision, to act on my belief in member-ownership, community and a local foods economy.

When I moved away from Wooster, to Ames, I was very sad to lose that place and community. But I found it here, too, at Wheatsfield Co-op. Over 100 local producers (Iowa) are featured in the store. I’ve never had easier and more consistent access to local foods – and other organic and sustainably-sourced products – than I do at Wheatsfield. Maybe other stores carry the same products, but it isn’t so central to their business. It is central to ours, and it’s imperative that we all support that shared mission. You have an easy choice to make. Decide once: shop at Wheatsfield.