From the Board President: What Does Maddie Poppe Have to do with the Cedar Falls Food Co-op?

Even someone like me who doesn’t watch a lot of TV couldn’t escape the Maddie Poppe news – Clarksville’s own won this year’s American Idol competition. There were celebrations everywhere. Tons of coverage in the papers and local news stations. “Maddie Poppe Fever” was a thing. And signs everywhere. Clarksville hosted a parade and declared May 15 as Maddie Poppe Day. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds attended Maddie’s concert at the Butler County Fairgrounds.

So, what’s the big deal? Why all the attention? The answer is simple: local pride. As one concert-goer noted, “We may not have any stoplights in Butler Co., but we do have a shining star.” Note the possessive quality of this statement. People in northeast Iowa, and across the state, are taking pride in “one of our own” winning a national contest.

What are YOU proud of about the place you live? Folks in Dyserville are proud of their Field of Dreams. Waterloo is proud of Dan Gable and the Sullivan Brothers. Iowans are proud of the Bridges of Madison County and RAGBRAI. If you’re from Decorah, you’re proud of one of the best breweries in the world.

Think of the places you’ve lived. When you have out-of-town visitors, what do you want to show off to them? When my wife and I lived in St. Louis, we loved to show off Forest Park to guests. Now living in the Cedar Valley, we take visitors to Hartman Reserve for walks, Miss Wonderful for shopping, and Rudy’s Tacos for unique food.

“People want to be true stakeholders in what happens in their areas,” noted a recent HuffPost article. “Cities should offer their citizens inclusive opportunities and a sense of personal pride in the overall infrastructure.”

That, of course, is something the Cedar Falls Food Co-op offers. Not only will the Co-op be “home grown,” but it also offers residents a chance to be a stakeholder. Anyone can be an owner of the Co-op. How many local businesses can claim that?

In addition to being owned by the residents, the Co-op will reciprocate and invest in the community, buying from local producers, donating to local charities, and living out the principal of Concern for Community.

While a grocery store might be a modest investment in one’s community, it is something we can all connect with. What’s more universal than food? Food nourishes us, so why not have the place where we can buy food be as interested in nourishing our community as we are?

As Maddie pointed out in her rendition of “Bare Necessities,”

Wherever I wander, whenever I roam

I couldn’t be fonder of my big home


If you haven’t become one of the nearly 775 member-owners of the Cedar Falls Food Co-op, join today and be a part of building local pride.

In cooperation,

Tom Wickersham


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