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Spring’s promise

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT SPRING AND ITS PROMISE OF GREEN AND GROWING THINGS. IT'S SO HOPEFUL, SO YOUNG AND BRAVE. IT REMINDS ME OF A TIME WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, SOME WOULD SAY MUCH YOUNGER, AND THE BEGINNING OF MY CO-OP LIFE.

I’m thinking back to a day when I had lunch at the Fertile Earth restaurant with my best friend, my mom and her friend. This was the restaurant that Steve Pincus, one of Outpost’s founders, started in 1971. Little did I realize back then that it would be a kind of beginning to my relationship with Outpost. A few months after it got rolling, the restaurant was passed along to Outpost to manage.

I’m also thinking back to the first time my dad came home from work, having stopped by the Outpost store on Locust Street to pick up some whole-wheat flour and honey. My parents were early supporters, but I didn’t realize I had any connection to Outpost before I began working here in 1980.  Since then I’ve heard many stories from my parents, from the co-op’s founders, and from countless shoppers and owners, about the place that Outpost occupies in their hearts and their lives.

The natural products industry has changed dramatically over the past 45 years, and while much has changed about Outpost, so many things remain the same. While we no longer have to put price stickers on all of our canned goods, or volunteer for a shift to help cover our costs, organic food was and remains the foundation of what we believe is best for the planet and for our own wellness.

We still put our bulk food in bags, and weigh them at the register. We cut larger blocks of cheese into smaller blocks, wrap and label them, just as we did in 1982. We still get produce and other goods from local farmers and vendors, just like in our early days.

As a cooperative, we still believe that our business model is superior to the publicly traded version of natural foods. It allows us to keep profits local by distributing patronage back to our investor/owners based on their level of patronage and support.

I think about how small, how young, how hopeful we were in 1970. It was our spring, our fertile earth. We believed we could change the world one homegrown carrot at a time.

You know what, I believe we still can. That’s what keeps me tending our garden and nurturing the people and programs that make our cooperative grow, branch out and support the network of good things our community offers.

Happy spring!

Pam Mehnert
general manager

READ THE LATEST ISSUE HERE

In this issue:

Peace, Love & Cooperation 
A look back at 45 years at Outpost

Your Personal Cookie Chef 
The Naked Baker, Susan Knutson, shows us the goodies

It's Picnic Weather 
Pack it up, pack it in

And much more ....

 

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