Members Make It Happen!

As the Cedar Falls Food Co-op’s membership continues to rise, more and more members are stepping up to help the Co-op grow. They’ve made the commitment by purchasing a share in the Food Co-op and now they want to have the store open as soon as possible. They know that the sooner we get 1,000 members, the sooner we can open. They are taking the concept of ownership to heart and are encouraging other members to join. Cedar Falls teacher and Food Co-op member Donna Mallin is among those who utilized one of the most effective tools to recruit new members: house parties.

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What is Natural Grocers and How or Will it Impact the Cedar Falls Food Co-op?

As was reported in the Courier (3/13/16), the national chain, Natural Grocers, is in the process of opening a store in Cedar Falls at University and Rownd. Earlier, representatives of Natural Grocers reached out to the Cedar Falls Food Co-op to explore the possibilities of collaboration and to share details of their plans. They noted that the Cedar Falls location would be one of four locations they are planning on opening in Iowa this year. (The first one has already opened in the greater Des Moines area.)

Rightfully so, Co-op member-owners want to know if this project will impact the efforts of the Co-op to open and to be successful after opening. The Co-op Board wishes to assure the member-owners and future member-owners that the addition of Natural Grocers to the area will be a positive influence on both the local food landscape, as well as the Co-op’s efforts to open its doors. Consider the following:

  • We acknowledge that Natural Grocers would be deemed a competitor, but the store demonstrates a growing interest in organic and natural food. Having more options for healthy, organic food in the area is a good thing for the residents of the greater Cedar Valley, and will help in our overall efforts to educate shoppers on the value of organic.
  • A recent market analysis conducted on behalf of the Cedar Falls Food Co-op showed sales forecast for the Co-op as being “above average.” In fact, the projections were just a few points shy of the “best” rating levels. This finding took into account having Natural Grocers as part of the competition in the area.
  • Natural Grocers will be a very different model than the Cedar Falls Food Co-op. For starters, their stores are heavy on vitamins and supplements. Additionally, these stores don’t have delis. The Cedar Falls Food Co-op will be a full-service grocery store that includes a deli for fresh, healthy prepared foods.
  • The Cedar Falls Food Co-op will have a strong commitment to the local economy. In addition to its commitment to carry food and products from local growers and producers, the Cedar Falls Food Co-op will be owned by the community and run by a community-elected Board of Directors. Natural Grocers is a Colorado-based corporation. A greater percentage of the money spent at the Co-op will remain locally.
  • Lastly, Co-ops are popping up across the U.S. in part because co-ops emphasize community as part of their business model. The efforts to open a co-op in Cedar Falls are driven not just by having the right products on the shelves, but by having a community-centric business that can serve as a meeting and education place, that can instill a sense of pride in the community, and that can serve as hub for community building.


The Cedar Falls Food Co-op is still committed to being in or near downtown Cedar Falls, and we will continue our dialog with representatives of Natural Grocers to explore possible partnership opportunities in the future. Rather than thinking of them as a competitor, we can think of them as a potential partner in making the greater Cedar Valley a better, healthier place to live and work.

Recipe: Pasta Salad

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Pasta salad on bed of greens

Add some zing to your rainy days this Spring with this lemon pasta salad.

Prep time: 15 min


Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon

1 carrot shredded or cut into small pieces

¼ red onion diced

1 box pasta (I used organic penne)

10-15 kalamata olives cut up (add a little juice)

A few pepperoncinis cut up (add a little juice)

Heaping spoonful of fermented sauerkraut (add a little juice)

Olive oil


1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans) drained



Cook pasta as directed. Drain and rinse well in cold water until noodles are cool. Add to large bowl. Add lemon juice and zest, carrot, onion, chick peas, olives and their juice, pepperoncinis and their juice, sauerkraut its juice, olive oil and vinegar to taste.


*You may need to add more oil and vinegar or dressing of your choice as it sits, noodles will absorb moisture.

*You can add any veggies, herbs, or dressings you like. You can replace pasta with rice or other grains to have a gluten free delight. Get creative!


No Fooling…Barn Happy is Our Newest Business Partner!

barnhappyWhile we love to joke around & have a good time, we’re pretty serious about our Business Partner Program and all of the savings that local businesses share with our member-owners. We are working hard to grow the benefits of becoming a CFFC member-owner before we put doors on our very own full-service, community-owned, local farm & food-loving grocery store!

Barn Happy is a wonderful addition to our star lineup of local businesses that offer our members discounts & deals. According to the Barn Happy website, they “feel it’s important to preserve the agricultural heritage and values of the heartland. Iowa is a unique and valuable asset to the country. Barn Happy works to give customers and visitors a genuine snapshot of the state.” We couldn’t be more proud to partner with a business that recognizes and celebrates the importance of supporting local.

Stop in to Barn Happy. Show your CFFC membership card. Get a free bottomless cup of coffee…which will come in handy as you peruse all of the fun items that they carry from artisans across our great state! There’s lots to look at. Oh, and don’t forget to try their delicious homemade soups, baked goods & sandwiches!!

Up and Coming Food Co-op Conference Recap


Hand outs from the conference.

The Up and Coming Food Co-op Conference, coordinated by the Indiana Cooperative Development Center and Food Co-op Initiative, is an amazing opportunity for start-up co-ops to gather together, share their experiences, and learn from those who have succeeded before them. This event embodies a number of the 7 cooperative principles, including providing co-ops with a space for education, training, and information (P5); cooperation among co-ops (P6); and concern for the community (P7). Our previous attendance to this conference has helped us in our success thus far, and everything we learned from this year’s conference will help us go even further.

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New Business Partners Have Sprung Up This Month! 

Like the new buds of spring, the immediate benefits of being a card-carrying Cedar Falls Food Co-op member-owner just keep growing. We have 4 new business partners to announce this month!


Looking to dress up your next outfit or the walls of your home? Gallery 106 is offering 10% off of their fun & funky jewelry collection & Bryan Sink artwork. You can’t go wrong with either of them. If you haven’t been to Gallery 106, be sure to pop in & say hello. You’ll be glad you did! 


The seasons are changing & maybe you’re sensing that it’s time for a change, too. Yet, you can’t quite put your finger on what it is. What if you could seek counsel from your very own guardian angels? Speaker, author and educator, Maria Gurney Peth PhD, utilizes her intuitive abilities to acknowledge the support of the divine angels in her life and the  lives of others. Maria’s Angelic Enlightenment is offering 10% off of a 50 minute session  to tap into unique guidance for your life & inspiration for your soul so you may discover your true life’s purpose. 


It takes great skill, commitment and passion to produce the highest quality chocolates available and Chocolaterie Stam downtown Cedar Falls definitely delivers. Now, the Cedar Valley can indulge in the nearly 100-year-old Dutch tradition of fresh cream and nut filled bonbons along with other fine confections, their own rich coffee blend, and homemade Italian gelato. Co-op member- owners will receive 10% off of Stam baking products like cocoa, chocolate squares & chips! Sure, you’ve tasted chocolate before – but nothing better than this.    


Suffering from migraines, fibromyalgia, asthma, neck pain, lower back pain or digestive disorders? By caring for the upper spine and nervous system, you’re not necessarily treating those conditions; however, you are allowing your body to heal as it is designed to! Dr. Kyle Troyer at Upper Cervical Health Center is offering $150.00 off your initial visit, which includes exam and x-ray, to help you take back your life! Whether you are seeking care for a specific condition or you are taking advantage of the wonderful preventative benefits of a safe, natural, and effective health care practice, you won’t be disappointed.

A Letter from Sarah Foster

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  1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
  2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Community…This is why my husband, Charles and I call the Cedar Valley home. We feel the same sense of community with the Cedar Falls Food Co-op as it will be so much more than a place to buy groceries.

As member-owners we all have the same goal in mind, and that’s to get our co-op doors open. How can we make this happen? If all of us take the time to share our excitement for the co-op with our own community of friends, family & neighbors, we will be that much closer to shopping at our co-op!

Our research shows us that house parties and individual connections are the fastest way to grow membership. Please help us reach our goal by inviting your personal community to a house party. What does a house party consist of? It’s a gathering of your people, and it can be as simple as having friends over for cocktails or dessert (or both!). In our house, it would be toddlers and a potluck! However you gather, please at some point share your enthusiasm for the co-op and why you’re a member-owner. If you’d like, a board or committee member can be available to answer questions and take memberships on the spot. Find more details about House Parties here.

Charles and I feel so strongly about the co-op that our business, Fosters Mattress, is donating a queen size mattress set. The Co-op has extended this offer, so that if you host a party before March 31, you’ll be entered in the drawing to win the mattress set. Don’t delay – when you’ve selected a date, please contact us at to let us know about your plans, ask us questions, and get your name entered in the drawing to win.

Thanks for sharing your passion for the co-op and letting me be a part of your food community!

All the best,

Sarah Foster

Membership Committee

From the Board President: With 300 Member-Owners the Co-op Enters Stage II

Each of us reaches milestones throughout our lives. First steps. First book read. First kiss. Things like birthdays, graduations, and weddings are celebrated with loved ones. Some milestones are more quiet affairs—first time voting or first time on an airplane. Milestones are important to recognize; they are critical to our growth and development. The same principle applies to the growth and development of businesses, including the Cedar Falls Food Co-op. Late in February, the Co-op reached a significant milestone—300 members. As such, we are officially in Stage II of our development.

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Business Partner Spotlight: Cedar Falls Brown Bottle


We are very proud to say that the Cedar Falls Brown Bottle has been a long-standing business partner with us. For over 30 years, this family-owned restaurant has provided a relaxed dining atmosphere where patrons can enjoy savory Italian dishes, tasty desserts and select from an exemplary wine list. In addition, their menu provides a variety of options for those with dietary restrictions. For example, they have a vegetarian lasagna which is simply amazing, as well as gluten-free pizzas.

They also have a banquet room that accommodates up to 45 people, so please keep this in mind when planning your next party or meeting. They will do everything they can to make your occasion memorable, and the best part is there is no clean-up for you!

Be sure to take advantage of your business partner discount of 10% off a dine-in only meal at the Cedar Falls Brown Bottle. It will be a superb dining experience that you and your family will enjoy.

I own (so much more than) a grocery store with my friends!

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Jenna Berendzen seems to wear a lot of hats: mom to boys Max and Samuel, wife of Peter, nurse practitioner at Allen’s Women’s health, student studying integrative mental health, board member at House of Hope a transitional program helping homeless women and children get back on their feet, and of course co-op member. In fact, Jenna is a member of three co-ops! She’s originally from the Twin Cities so she grew up shopping at co-ops, then joined Oneota in Decorah while going to school at Luther, and now she’s an owner of the Cedar Falls Food Co-op!

“I’m excited about it,” she explained, “because it’s more than just a supermarket. I love it from a personal and professional standpoint.” Health and wellness is her career, but also her passion. In her work at Allen Women’s Health she treats people regardless of their ability to pay and what she see’s is that “healthy food along with access to community resources is key. And our community would be perfect for that.”

She explained that, “We’re both from bigger cities, so when we moved here ten years ago it took awhile to adjust, and now we just love it! We go to the farmers market and take the kids to the rec center. We’re CSA subscribers, too. We just signed up for our second season with Kaiser farms.”  She thinks the Cedar Valley, which has been a perfect fit for her family, will also be just right for a co-op. After all, she says. “You don’t have to be in the Twin Cities or a metropolitan area to have a thriving co-op.”

The co-op has helped the Berendzens feel even more strongly tied to their community. “A lot of our friends have joined the co-op as well, and that really makes it feel like we’re in the right place.” You know the slogan we love to use, “I own a grocery store with my friends!” ?  That sounds a lot like Jenna’s story, but maybe we could add, “I own so much more than a grocery story with my friends!”