Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op opened in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1979 with the goal of providing healthy, unprocessed food for the neighborhood. Today, that mission is met with three retail locations, along with myriad programs and initiatives that support local producers and enable shoppers of all incomes to access the foods and information needed to live a healthy lifestyle.
Here are a few unique ways Mississippi Market increases access for all:
Community support. Classes on health and wellness topics run the gamut from healthy cooking to food preservation to edible gardening. Additionally, the market partners with other local cooperatives to sponsor Midwest Food Connection, an educational nonprofit that empowers elementary school children to make healthy and responsible food choices. The store’s Positive Change program selects a different nonprofit each month to receive register donations as well as the 10-cent reusable bag credit offered to shoppers. “Last year, with generous help from our shoppers, we donated $129,000 to 12 local nonprofits,” says Leah Oliver, marketing manager.
Producer support. Mississippi Market sources nearly half of its purchases from local farms and locally owned businesses. “We know our local growers and producers, and we work hard to support them year-round,” Oliver says.
Shopper support. At Mississippi Market, income doesn’t have to be a barrier to a healthful diet. Its Limited Income Membership Entry (LIME) program offers reduced membership investment for qualifying customers enrolled in financial assistance programs. LIME member-owners also receive a 10 percent discount on their purchases. The Co+op Basics program, designed to keep prices of healthy staples low, means that natural foods can be affordable and accessible to everyone. It also includes recipes and classes that support healthy shopping on a budget.
The other Retailer of the Year Standout Health Food/Supplement Store finalist is:
Winners will be announced at Natural Products Expo East 2017.