Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cooperating in Kalamazoo

During the recent foodie media tour of Kalamazoo, I learned more about the People’s Food Co-op, Fair Food Matters, and Can-Do Kitchen.

People’s Food Co-op
The co-op has been my go-to place for years whenever I am in the Kalamazoo area. With 2,250 members, it is more than a place to pick up healthy grocery items. The business is owned and controlled by the members, but it is open to any shopper. It started in 1970 and exists to create access to food that is healthy to people, the land, and the economy. The current location opened in May 2011 and is four times the size of the prior store.

The products in the produce department are 98% organically grown. And, throughout the year an average of 25% of the produce stocked is local. They also support local businesses that provide services to them, such as banking and cleaning. Staff also manages the Kalamazoo farmers market in the Edison neighborhood at 1204 Banks Street. On Wednesdays the 100 mile market is located in the co-op parking lot.

Fair Food Matters
As stated on their webpage, the mission of Fair Food Matters is to improve access to healthy, local food by educating, connecting, and empowering the Kalamazoo community. They do this with several programs including community gardens and the Douglass Farmers Market on the north side of Kalamazoo. Fair Food Matters is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization. They share space with Can-Do Kitchen which is in the same building as the People’s Food Co-op.

Can-Do Kitchen
A program of Fair Food Matters, the Can-Do Kitchen is an incubator kitchen. It’s a licensed facility for food businesses, local-produce processing, and job training that can be rented. Sometimes you just need a commercial kitchen! The People’s Food Co-op uses part of the space on a regular basis to make their deli and Grab and Go items. There are cooking classes held in the facility by Can-Do and by the Co-op.

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co-op produce dept.
Brazilian cheese bread sampling at Can-Do Kitchen
Can-Do Kitchen

100 Mile Market
The Can-Do Kitchen folks provided samples. Yum!

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