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Oshkosh Food Co-op group shows off progress with live virtual event

Oshkosh Food Co-op site
Oshkosh Food Co-op site(WBAY)
Published: Oct. 11, 2020 at 6:41 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - What was once an empty grass field off the corner of Jackson St. and Pearl Ave. in downtown Oshkosh now shows signs of development.

“As you can see behind me, we have a building now,” said Jay Stoflet, an Oshkosh Food Co-op board member.

The future home of the community-owned and sourced grocery store is getting shown off this weekend during the Oshkosh Food Co-op’s virtual “Co-op Grow-op” event.

“This whole weekend has just been a culmination of so many years worth of work, it’s really exciting,” said Stoflet.

“We are introducing people to the efforts to bring a community-owned grocery store here to Oshkosh’s Central City,” said Board President Brenda Haines during the live event.

Haines and Stoflet were just some of the people behind the virtual production.

Several member-owners, including local growers and producers, were interviewed throughout the live feed discussing their products, processes, and why they’re investing in the co-op.

“It’s been going well,” said Haines. “We’ve already gained a dozen new member owners and we’ve reached thousands of people with the message and so we’re really thrilled about that.”

“Even if we don’t get every member out of this that we were hoping for the word is being spread,” said Stoflet. “We’re educating more and more people about the co-op and why it’s important.”

But Stoflet says the more members they have, the better the experience will be for shoppers.

“The more members we have the better selection we have to choose from as far as the different things we can get involved with,” said Stoflet. “The better representation we have of the community and all that comes together to really represent the entire region and not just a select few people.”

To members it’s all about providing a place for local producers to sell their product year-round and giving the community regular access to organic, healthy food.

“I think during this pandemic everyone has reconsidered a number of their purchasing decisions, and I think the importance of shopping local has really hit home with a lot of people. I think that’s why we’re seeing the renewed interest,” said Haines.

They hope to have the grocery store opened sometime next summer.

The Grow-op event can still be viewed on the Oshkosh Food Co-op Facebook or YouTube page.

Learn more about becoming a member on the organization’s website.

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