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Your Board

Hi, I'm Your Board

Outpost's Board of Directors will use this blog to discuss issues the board is exploring as it envisions Outpost's future. Can't make it to a meeting? Check here frequently to read what the Board is up to. Outpost's Board of Directors. From left...
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Your Board

Cooperation in Action: Educating Consumers

Sounding Board
Outpost's Board of Directors will use this blog to discuss issues the board is exploring as it envisions Outpost's future. Can't make it to a meeting? Check here frequently to read what the Board is up to. By Your Board on January 6, 2014

As we move forward into a brand new year, it’s a great time to take stock of the good that cooperatives like Outpost do.

 

One of the big things on my list? Education. 

 

Did you know that cooperatives around the world generally operate according to the same core principles and values?  There are actually seven cooperative principles, all of which were adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance in 1995. And principle number five just happens to be – you guessed it – education!

 

As food retailers take stock of what’s trending, they are quick to see that – despite the tough economy – consumers continue to pay more for products in which they believe.  They buy fresh produce, organic products, and tasty local items, even though they cost a bit more.

 

These same consumers are asking more questions. They want to know the stories behind their food. Where does it come from? Who produces it? Are they trustworthy?

 

And the questions get even deeper. How are the people who manufacture the food treated? What is the impact of the product on our earth? What happens to the money they are spending?

 

Meanwhile, coops like Outpost have been educating people about their food for decades, making purchasing decisions on the basis of ethics, and supporting producers who are making great products in humane ways.

 

Outpost is at the fore of these trends. And it isn’t because they’re popular. It’s because cooperatives have always been concerned about the burning questions of quality and ethics.

 

In addition to answering owner questions and responding to owner needs, Outpost also makes an effort to reach out to the community through educational programs. Sampling days offer customers the opportunity to try new products and learn more about how they’re made. Judy Mayer, Outpost’s dedicated dietitian, gives store tours, cooking classes, and workshopsto help members make healthful decisions and make the most of their cooperative memberships. Outpost’s quarterly magazine, Graze, is in its third year of offering great stories about the foods, companies and people bringing healthy local foods to our community. And Outpost’s Community Partner program gives owners a unique opportunity to familiarize themselves with area non-profit organizations while giving back at the same time.

 

I’m proud to be a board member of Outpost because, quite simply, it’s an organization that demonstrates every day that they love food. But, more importantly, they love people. And they’re motivated to provide great service and high quality products at every turn.

 

The cooperative sector is filled with people who love what they do, who care deeply about service – both to consumers and the community – and who want to use their skills to assist ethical retailers in growing and succeeding.

 

In 2014, as we prepare to launch our Mequon store, it seems fitting that we stop for a moment and appreciate what our cooperative has been able to build, and what we stand for as we move into an exciting new year.

 

Thank YOU, Outpost owners, for recognizing a good thing when you see it. And putting your local dollars in a place that makes such a big difference.

 

Happy New Year! And cheers to our best year yet!

 

- Lori Fredrich, director

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