Mission & Values

Our mission is to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of southeastern Wisconsin through the sustainable operation of a full service, cooperatively-owned grocery store serving its community, employees, and owners while working as a part of a stronger local food system.

 

Our goals include:

  • Providing as much local and fresh food as possible at a full service grocery store open to the public

  • Promoting a more sustainable community where our resources are not depleted, polluted or destroyed

  • Keeping money in the local economy by supporting local farming and other locally produced goods & services

  • Offering good jobs with honest wages for local residents

  • Growing a large community of member-owners who, in turn, invest their money in a growing economy

 

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Sustainability

 

Environmental sustainability is the rates of renewable resource harvest, pollution creation, and non-renewable resource depletion that can be continued indefinitely. If they cannot be continued indefinitely then they are not sustainable.

 

To offer an example, sustainable farming practices entail nurturing the soil by preserving the microorganisms upon which the natural cycle of plant growth and decay depends. In contrast, farming practices used by industrial-scale agribusinesses use chemical fertilizers such as anhydrous ammonia, most of which is derived from natural gas, and which kills any microorganisms remaining in the soil. Any organic material remaining in the field after harvest cannot be broken down into new soil because all of the microorganisms were killed. Because there are no nutrients in the soil, more industrial chemical fertilizer must be added for the next growing season. Farming techniques which destroy the soil and deplete natural resources are unsustainable. Growing food using natural systems is sustainable.

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Local Food

 

Buying goods grown or made in your own community makes good sense for people and for the local economy. It makes good sense for people because, in the case of food, it is fresher and more nutritious. It’s good for the local economy because it keeps family farms and small businesses viable and more dollars are returned directly to the community instead of going to some far away headquarters. It’s good for the environment because less fuel is needed to transport the goods to and from the production point to the store and then to your table. Also, less packaging and storage accommodations are needed when selling fresh food locally.

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Organic Food

 

Organic foods are produced or processed without the use of modern synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, the use of irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. Organic foods also do not contain genetically modified ingredients. When livestock is involved, they must be raised without the routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones and must have regular access to the outdoors. 

 

In the United States, organic production is a system that is managed in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 and regulations in Title 7, Part 205 of the Code of Federal Regulations to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.

 

Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry, distinct from industrial factory farming or private gardening. The United States (and many other countries) requires producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as “organic”. This certification process is costly, and often discourages small farmers from participating, even though their farming practices nominally comply with, or exceed, the standards set forth in the regulations.

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Fair Trade

 

Producers receive a fair price – a living wage.

For commodities, farmers receive a stable, minimum price.

Forced labor and exploitative child labor are not allowed.

Buyers and producers trade under direct long-term relationships.

Producers have access to financial and technical assistance.

Sustainable production techniques are encouraged.

Working conditions are healthy and safe.

Equal employment opportunities are provided for all.

All aspects of trade and production are open to public accountability.