THE YEAR 2018 MARKS THE START OF MY 38TH YEAR WITH THE CO-OP, 31 OF THEM AS THE GENERAL MANAGER. I’M STARING DOWN NEARLY FOUR DECADES OF MY LIFE AND CAREER THAT HAVE BEEN DEDICATED TO THE MISSION AND VALUES THAT OUR COOPERATIVE EMBODIES, AND THAT MANY TREASURE. WHILE OUR MISSION BEGAN WITH FOOD, TODAY IT IS EXEMPLIFIED IN HOW WE BUILD COMMUNITY, HOW WE ENGENDER AN INCLUSIVE AND WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT, HOW WE GENERATE A STRONG LOCAL ECONOMY, HOW WE WALK OUR TALK, AND HOW WE CREATE MEANINGFUL EMPLOYMENT FOR A WORKFORCE WE VALUE DEEPLY.
I’ll be honest, dear 2018, I’m finding it challenging to be optimistic about what lies ahead. Our country is divided, our food system is broken, our climate is at risk, and many shoppers often choose what is convenient rather than what is local. Capitalism − the big “C” that co-ops who grew up in the 60’s, like Outpost, were opposed to on principle – now drives our market through mostly publicly-traded businesses. That is the stark reality of 2018.
Fortunately, all I have to do is look around at what tens of thousands of Outpost owners have created over nearly five decades, and suddenly I’m energized and can tap the well of optimism that lives inside of me. While our country may be divided, our co-op is united by the cooperative principle that “everyone is welcome” here. Although our food system is broken, our co-op is here to create prosperity for our local food purveyors – those people in our community who bring their carefully crafted products to our shelves. Here at our co-op we understand that climate change is real and have chosen to take responsibility to spread that message and make a continued effort to lower our carbon footprint. And we know that low prices and convenience continue to drive consumers to shop around in our community and online, so we have ensured that our co-op remains a viable choice for some of the best quality natural and organic products around, all at fair prices that ensure fair pay for our employees including full-time jobs and generous benefits.
Over my nearly 40 years I’ve learned that we can be a dynamic and viable business without giving up our values or social conscience. By doing so we not only ensure more people in our community have access to healthy food, we help make the world a better place.
Happy New Year!
In this issue:
THE ART OF THE VEGETABLE. A modern take on delicious vegetarian meals
SERVING UP THE HITS. Radio Milwaukee DJs share their favorite recipes
AN APPLE A DAY. Only great apples make a great hard cider
and more ...