March 2024 Newsletter

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The Mushroom Messenger

KCG Monthly Newsletter: March 2024

Bringing you the monthly news of Kennett Community Grocer, a growing Food Co-op committed to local food, community, and culture.

 
Hello to our Member-Owners and Friends!
 
In this edition:
 
Our Member Benefit Program is Up and Running! Check it out

 
WHAT’S THE  BOARD BEEN UP TO?
The KCG Board held its monthly meeting on February 12, 2024, via Zoom. Now and moving forward, the agenda for meetings will consist of in-depth reports from the Teams working on specific areas of growth for the Co-op. These teams are Membership, Events, Communications, and Store & Property.

All teams welcome volunteers for a variety of activities.
  • The Membership team activities include outreach to prospective new members via letters and phone calls, enhancing the experience of joining, and database maintenance.

  • The Events team plans and runs events aimed at increasing membership and is looking for Member-Owner volunteers who would like to staff information tables at the events.

  • The Communications team keeps us all informed with the newsletter, emails, and social media.


If you are interested in volunteering in any of these areas, please reach out to our volunteer coordinator, Mitch Warren, via the volunteer interest form on the KCG website.

We are happy to announce that in-person Board meetings will start-up in April. March’s meeting has been moved to 3/19 and will be a special closed meeting for more Board training. Then, starting in April, the Board will meet on the second Monday of the month in the Dogwood Room at the Kennett Library at 7 
PM. All Member-Owners are welcome at the monthly board meetings. Meeting will be in hybrid format and can be accessed using the Zoom link on the KCG Events Calendar.

As always, if you have suggestions or comments for the Board, please contact us at [email protected].
 

MEMBERSHIP EVER GROWING

We added 10 new members in February, bringing us to a current Member-Owner count of 354. As we continue to grow, the Membership Team will be conducting several outreach campaigns. Please continue to let us know if you have any ideas for increasing membership through events or outreach activity. More importantly, keep talking to friends and neighbors and inviting them to our events so that we create a “word of mouth explosion.” Membership growth is crucial to KCG's success.
 
BECOME A MEMBER-OWNER TODAY
 
KCG EVENTS
LOOKING AHEAD TO MARCH AND APRIL
 
Saturday, March 2, 1-3 PM: Seed Library Launch at the Kennett Library. KCG volunteers will be present for childrens activities - helping them pot plants, doing a garden-themed story time, explaining what a food co-op is, and helping them to understand how seeds grow into the plants producing vegetables they like to eat.
Wednesday, March 20, 5-7 PM: A Mix and Mingle for new and prospective members at Victory Brewing Co. in Kennett Square. Come out for a free beer & appetizers, and hear updates on our progress. A great opportunity to bring a friend and share the KCG vision!
April 12, 5-8 PM: Wine Tasting at Paradox Vineyard in Landenberg, PA. Come by, buy wine tasting, enjoy free music by Liz Watkins, enter our raffle, and learn more about Kennett Community Grocer. More details to follow.
 
SPECIAL FEATURE: 
 
Why the Heck Are We Doing This?!
Note: Over the coming months, the Mushroom Messenger will be sharing stories that help communicate the inspiration and urgency behind building a member-owned cooperative grocery store. Do you have a story to share about what the Co-op means to you? Please get in touch at [email protected]

In February, the answer to the question pointed out the importance of access to good nutrition for individuals and the community. A second major reason for opening a co-op in Kennett Square is our commitment to the economic well-being of our local farmers. Our collective food security resides in the ability of our local producers to continue to operate and bring healthy food to our tables.

New agriculture census data released by the United States Department of Agriculture on February 13, 2024, reveals great concern about the alarming loss of US farmland and the equally alarming loss of farmers participating in farm production.* But we can do something to keep our local farming economy healthy: we can support a cooperative grocery store devoted to sourcing local farm food products. Hopefully, 80% of the food KCG purchases will come from our more than 125 local producers.

Board President Edie Burkey discovered in a startling way the challenges faced by local formers:
On a sunny but cold February day, I had the unique experience of what it means to have “unavailable labor” on a farm. I went out to meet thirty-something dairy farmer Wes Miller of Chesapeake Gold Dairy Farm in Northeast Maryland. We walked and talked about the various challenges he faces: finding people to work, finding wholesale buyers to purchase his cheese, milk and yogurt, and keeping up with the many regulations which make local farm products healthier for us but financially challenging for the farmer. While we toured the barns on his property, our heads down and hands clasped behind our backs, I happened to look up at the barn area holding the pregnant cows about to give birth. Only this young man and I were around, the slim staff being busy in the milking shed – this is what “unavailable labor” looks like on a farm.

What I saw when I looked up was a pair of hooves emerging from the backside of a large brown and white cow! Suddenly, I found myself recruited into action to help Wes with the difficult birthing of a breach (back legs first) calf. Though I am a lover of the show “All Creatures Great and Small” and a firm advocate of supporting local farm production, this job was more hands-on than anything I had prepared myself to do. But your KCG Board President rose to the occasion. I sprang into action, and 20 minutes later a happy farmer and I watched the newborn calf begin to nurse.

Midwifery is not exactly what I have in mind when I encourage you all to support your local farmers, but this wonderful experience brought me closer to the gifts and challenges faced by local producers. Our grocery store can be one of the links that makes good local food readily available. I look forward to the day when this little calf will be a cow producing the cheese from Chesapeake Gold Dairy Farm, cheese we will sell in Kennett Community Grocer. Join us today to help us get this store off the ground.

 
 
Photo: Chesapeake Gold Farms
 
* In the 2022 Farm Census data it is reported that 1.3 million farmers have reached retirement age, and these aging farmers are being replaced by less than 300,000 young people under 35. Farmers today are threatened by rising supply costs, unavailable labor, climate change related weather disasters, and increased regulations. All told, 20 million acres of productive farmland in the United States has been lost. This is a dire situation which will affect the quality and quantity of food available at affordable prices in the future.
 
 
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