March’s Positive Change recipient is the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. Each year, Mississippi Market participates in the campaign, a program of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches that provides food, funds, and educational materials to over 300 food shelves across the state. The March Campaign is the largest food and fund drive in the state and has been operating annually since 1983. This year, we are participating in the campaign along with 12 other food co-ops from around the state. Last year, the “Cooperating MN Food Co-ops” team raised a combined total of 109,371 dollars/pounds of food and ranked 3rd in the state for corporate/business drives!
February’s Positive Change recipient is The Family Place, a social service nonprofit and day care center that assists families with children in shelter to gain confidence in building future goals that will lead to success of the entire family. In addition to providing access to basic needs, The Family Place includes education-based programming for both adults and children, aimed at building more confident and successful individuals with improved skills able to tackle life’s mounting responsibilities. The Family Place is the only day care center for families with children in Ramsey County.
January’s Positive Change recipient is Tanka Fund, a national campaign to return buffalo to the lands, lives, and economies of Native peoples. Tanka Fund provides educational resources about the benefits of Native buffalo restoration and raises financial aid for Native buffalo producers to assist them with raising sustainable herds. The campaign is dedicated to tackling hunger, unemployment, and unsustainable food production practices on Native American reservations while reconnecting Native peoples to their cultural food traditions.
People who are sick should not be without food. Yet everyday, people in our community with life-threatening illnesses find themselves unable to shop or cook – and often, without the support network to help.
December’s Positive Change recipient is Open Arms of Minnesota, a local nonprofit founded in 1986 that delivers free, nutritious meals specifically tailored to meet the needs of individuals living with life-threatening and chronic illnesses in the Twin Cities. Open Arms provides meals to over 1,000 clients per week and over a half-million meals per year to people living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and ALS, as well as to their caregivers and dependents. Please help them celebrate 30 years of making a positive change in our community!
November’s Positive Change recipient is Midwest Food Connection, a local nonprofit that empowers elementary school children to make healthy and responsible food choices.
Midwest Food Connection (MFC) creates elementary school lessons specifically for kindergarten, primary, and intermediate grades. Each year they partner with over 50 schools in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, reaching over 6,700 children with classroom lessons. MCF’s educators teach about healthy eating, local and natural foods, as well as sustainable and organic agriculture.
Please join us in welcoming Marshall Wright as the new Selby Store Manager! You might recognize Marshall – he started with Mississippi Market in 1997 as a produce clerk at the former Randolph location. Marshall spent the next 14 years as the Produce Manager at Linden Hills Co-op, where he honed his leadership skills.
Marshall is thrilled to contribute his energy and experience to our co-op and the Saint Paul community, where he’s lived for the past 18 years. He brings a life-long passion for cooperatives and local, organic food to the position. Welcome, Marshall!
To celebrate National Co-op Month, we’re supporting Cooperative Development Services (CDS), a local St. Paul-based nonprofit that helps local farmers and producers develop business plans and access funds to grow their sustainable, organic, or cooperative businesses.
- CDS assists in developing and supporting local Minnesota farmer cooperatives and food vendors
- CDS also actively pursues and engages new cooperative businesses in order to help them successfully launch and plan for long-term viability in the marketplace
- They have provided support to a number of Mississippi Market’s farmers and food vendors, including Thousand Hills Cattle Company, Featherstone Farm, Whistling Well Farm, Hoch Orchards & Gardens, Pastures A Plenty Farm, Whole Grain Milling Company, and more
James Lewis is a familiar face at Mississippi Market, and has worked in various positions (including Deli cook, Selby Deli Manager, and Central Kitchen Manager) since he started 6 1/2 years ago.
James is excited to bring his experience in food and team-building and fresh perspective to the position and serve as a trusted resource in fresh, natural foods for our East 7th neighbors.
Fiscal Year 2016, which ended on June 30, proved to be very challenging for our co-op. Building a new store is a tremendous amount of work, and many staff hours went into getting our East 7th store up and running. While we are very pleased with the store, we have work to do to build sales. Furthermore, as projected, we ended the fiscal year with a loss. As a result, we will not be distributing a patronage dividend this year.
While we did not have a profitable past year, we did have other incredibly important successes:
- Our sales grew to $31,600,705, a 13 percent increase over the prior year.
- 2,372 new members joined the co-op, and 79 percent of our business was done with member-owners.
- We purchased $8,584,013 from 142 local producers and Minnesota-owned companies—wonderful businesses like Schultz Family Farms, Great Harvest Bakery, and Hoch Orchards.
- We raised $115,343 in donations for our Positive Change program, benefiting 12 different area nonprofits, including Dream of Wild Health, Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate, Growing West Side, and Frogtown Farm, among others.
- We added 48 jobs and, at the end of the fiscal year, had 255 employees. Our staff is the foundation of our success. We are committed to offering a competitive wage-and-benefit package and pay St. Paul’s living wage to eligible employees. At the end of June, 70.5 percent of staff were full-time. 100 percent of those eligible, 63 percent of total staff, were at or above St. Paul’s living wage of $12.85.
We’re proud that our reusable bag donation program reflects our overall mission as a co-op. With Positive Change, your reusable bag credit is worth 10¢ each. Choose to keep it, or donate it to our monthly non-profit recipients. Plus, in the spirit of making a greater impact on our community, you can round up to support these organizations every time you shop! In September, your donations will go to support the work of Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) Alternative Market Program. Read more …