Chequamegon Food Co-op Signs Superior Compact

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The Chequamegon Food Co-op recently pledged to increase the percentage of local products it carries by signing the Superior Compact. Superior Compact signatories aim to purchase 20 percent of their products locally by 2020. The document is a purchasing commitment developed by the Lake Superior Good Food Network, a group of regional organizations working to change the western Lake Superior bioregion food system.

The recently developed Produce Promises program will help the Co-op attempt to meet the goal set out in the compact. Created by the Co-op produce department, Produce Promises is a purchasing agreement program. The Co-op sent out requests to local farmers asking them to commit to growing and selling a certain amount and type of produce to the Co-op. These standing purchase orders create a guarantee for both the Co-op and the farmer.

For the 2013 growing season, the Co-op has secured growing agreements with ten area farmers. When asked about the small number of initial contracts, Produce Manager Sarah Jackson explained, “We started small due to our space constraints, but plan to bring in more growers once we move into our expanded store in 2014.” Plus, these agreements only account for a portion of the local produce sold at the Co-op, with the produce department working with a number of other area growers to fully stock the coolers. All told, approximately 10 to 15 percent of all produce sold at the Co-op will be locally sourced over the next year.

A regional celebration for new signatories of the Superior Compact will be held on Friday, March 8, 2013 in Duluth, Minnesota as part of the Good Food Transforming Our Region Summit. Chequamegon Food Co-op staff will be on hand for the event, with samples of local products and information about local foods. More information about the summit can be found at www.goodfoodnetwork.org/goodfoodsummit.html. To learn more about the Chequamegon Food Co-op’s commitment to purchasing and selling local products, please contact Harold Vanselow, general manager, at (715) 682-8251 or haroldv@cheqfood.coop.