The City of New Melle has an exciting new food co-op coming to the center of town. The New Melle Food Co-op (NMFC) will rent the lower level of Friedens Peace UCC. The Co-op will be more than a grocery store and will offer other benefits to the community and its members. (Photos and Plans to come.)
The founders and directors of the New Melle Food Co-op are Wyatt Gober and Noah Sutton. They are both currently managers of the New Melle Country Market and are committed to the vision of New Melle being self-sufficient. The store allows growers and producers of small farms and businesses to sell their products locally while keeping a consistent supply of affordable, high-quality foods and goods in stock.
The New Melle Food Co-op and Friedens Peace UCC are excited about the opportunities this will bring for both of them. Friedens Peace is located at 3560 Mill Street, in the center of town. The hall on the lower level will be the location of the Co-op. This space, as well as an outdoor area, will be used as a café. A space for all ages to come talk, work, study, learn, or just hang out with friends.
The Co-op is remodeling the space to accommodate their needs. There will be a food prep area, coolers, freezers, shelving for dry goods, bulk item bins and a check-out area. They plan to stock meat, dairy products, produce, bulk goods, dry goods, prepared foods, lifestyle goods and much more.
The goal is for the products stocked in the store to be as consistent and local as possible, but some items like coffee and chocolate, will be imported. The Co-op always prioritized ethical small farms when they source their food and other products, even the imported ones. In addition to the storefront, the New Melle Food Co-op will also have an online store, and a mobile app for easy ordering.
The New Melle Food Co-op is a private unincorporated association. Meaning, they are allowed to sell products that other stores cannot, like raw milk. They are not mandated by other agencies and have no obligations to regulatory agencies. That being said, all products will have to live up to the Co-op's standards of goods that are born from the standard of growers. There will be a Co-op Clean Certification given to farmers and growers of food that check all the boxes that they require. All foods must be clean and transparent in origin along with other requirements, and grown with practices what regenerate the environment.
To make a purchase in the NMFC, you must be a member. It is free to join, and you can sign up online or at the store. You can also join as an owner in the Co-op, which costs $50 per year or three years for $100. As an owner, you, receive discounts, free tickets to educational classes, a seat at decision-making meetings, annual distributions of financial excess and access to the community tool trade. Learn more about becoming a member or owner by visiting their website.
The Co-op is also opening a community tool trade center, and will have appliances and equipment, such as honey extractors, dehydrators and grain mills, for example. Owners of the Co-op gain free access to the Community Tool Trade. They will also offer educational classes on everything from beekeeping, baking bread or how to grow your own garden. Experienced professionals share knowledge with the community to teach others their craft.
The New Melle Food Co-op is being funded from the ground up by the Directors and by the generous support of everyday people in the community. Becoming a member helps with this cost, as well as donations. Even a dollar will get them one step closer. There have been several tradespeople, like Goodman Electric, donating their time which helps with the cost tremendously. Land has been donated by several locals, for a free community orchard to be used for the NMFC. (More to come on this.)
Wyatt and Noah are encouraged by all the positive feedback from the community, ranging in age from 16 to 80. The community has been waiting for a store in town that will sell quality, affordable healthy food and is excited to be involved in this great opportunity.
Also, starting next year, the New Melle Country Market will move to the NMFC parking lot and will have indoor and outdoor space for vendors. The market will be open on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Only the location of the Market has changed.
The New Melle Food Co-op plans to open in January and will be open Wednesday - Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will expand days and hours as necessary.
This is a new business partnership that will benefit the NMFC and Friedens Peace UCC and help build a thriving, healthier community. To learn all the details of this project and about the directors, visit www.newmellefood.coop and download the full business overview.