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Published April 20 2012

Group wants local food co-op by 2013

MOORHEAD – After nearly two years of work, the Prairie Roots Food Cooperative is putting a plan into action.

On Friday night, the cooperative kicked off its founding membership drive with an open house at the Bluestem Center for the Arts. Organizers estimated that more than 200 prospective members attended the event.

The cooperative was incorporated in November 2011, but Jennifer Faul, who serves on the membership committee, said a group of volunteers has been working on getting the organization going for nearly two years.

At Friday night’s event, the cooperative announced its initial goal of gaining 667 founding members, enough to finance a possible full-service grocery store in 2013, which Faul said is definitely needed in the area.

“This is a niche that there’s a growing response to,” she said. “It’s been the drive of like-minded people who want to grow local and eat local and support our local producers.”

Although a possible location for the store hasn’t been identified yet, Faul said the group has been looking into vacant buildings throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area that give easy access for both customers to shop and farmers to deliver their goods.

“We’re trying to make it more convenient for farmers and consumers to meet in one place,” she said.

Gina Sandgren of Moorhead, one of the many prospective members attending Friday night’s event, said she had heard from a friend about the cooperative and was interested in the idea.

Having shopped at The Wedge Community Co-op in Minneapolis, Sandgren felt that there’s a definite need in the F-M area for something similar that provides more access to organic and naturally grown materials.

Getting something like that in the area, she said, “would thrill me.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535

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