From The Outreach Coordinator: February 2018

On January 31st, we experienced a unique lunar phenomenon termed a super blue blood moon. Try to say that 10 times fast! What does it mean? Well, there was a lunar eclipse (blood moon) during a blue moon (the second full moon in the same month) at the same time as a super moon (when the full moon is at its closest proximity to earth). Incredible!


Whatever you believe about moon energy, I imagine you feel some sense of awe when gazing at the moon, and perhaps if you saw this phenomenon that feeling was intensified. This is what I’m feeling about the Co-op right now – an amplified sense of awe and wonder.

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Recipe: Best Broccoli Soup

This time of year in Iowa a healthy pot of warm soup takes the winter chills away. A great vegetable to start with is broccoli. It can always be found in the produce section, and broccoli is packed full of nutrients. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable and is related to cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. It’s full of vitamin C which may help boost the immune system. A nice crusty bread pairs well with this soup. This recipe was found in the Taste of Home Books One-Pot Recipes and was submitted by Carolyn Weinberg, Custer, Montana.

Best Broccoli Soup


2 cups water

4 cups chopped fresh broccoli (about 1-1/2 pounds)

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped onion

6 tablespoons butter 

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups milk

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1teaspoon onion salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt


Carolyn’s directions:

In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, bring water to a boil. Add broccoli, celery and carrots; boil 2-3 minutes. Drain; set vegetables aside. In the same kettle, sauté onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour to form a smooth paste. Gradually add the broth and milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil; boil and stir for 1 minute. Add vegetables and remaining ingredients. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Yield: 6-8 servings (2 quarts).

Member Spotlight: Jim O’Loughlin

Jim O’Loughlin and his wife, Julie Husband, have three children, Nic (19), Devin (16) and Ian (11). Julie and Jim have both taught English at UNI since moving to Cedar Falls in 2000. Jim is the host of the Final Thursday Reading Series at the Hearst Center for the Arts, a forum for creative writers that is now in its 18thseason. He recently edited and published, Planting Red Geraniums, a collection of previously unknown James Hearst poems that he discovered.

As a downtown resident and bike commuter, Jim really appreciates all that can be done within a short walk or ride. Since they bought their first house here, there’s been a new library, a new Lincoln Elementary School, an expanded Recreation Center, not to mention the investments made in the trail system. So, they have come to appreciate that a changing community can become a community with more to offer its residents.

Jim is a regular customer at Hansen’s Farm Fresh Dairy and makes use of the Co-op discount on milk there all the time. Hansen’s Dairy is one of the many Co-op business partners that offer discounts to our members.

Jim feels that a Co-op can focus on the kind of farm-to-table initiatives that Iowa needs and is well-suited to offer.  Diversified farming can lead to safer waterways and healthier eating. It’s a win-win situation. But a Co-op can do more than just provide food. It can become a community resource that offers cultural programming and education.

Jim is a runner and a biker and loves to cook.  He was a co-founder of the Overman Park Neighborhood Association and is currently the group’s President. Last summer, he and his friend, Jon Taiber, made the inaugural SingleSpeed kayak loop, paddling from downtown Cedar Falls to downtown Waterloo and back, which is sure to become a regular summer event.

Between Julie’s ambitious vegetable garden and Jim’s modest herb garden, they can eat salads with ingredients they mostly grow themselves throughout the summer. Nothing tastes better than food you grow yourself and pick just before eating.

Jim loves spring in Iowa. When the calendar says spring has started, it’s like the word goes out to nature and everything begins to turn a vibrant green. It’s an amazing transformation to see every year.

Board Happenings: January 2018

Take a minute to see what your board has been up to!
– Our committees have been hard at work getting ready for the co-op’s best year yet!
– Operations has worked hard to put together a General Manager (GM) job description. Hiring a GM is one of the most important task a start-up co-op undertakes, so we’re making sure to take the time to get the best one we can.
– The Membership Investment Campaign is putting together all the materials needed for our upcoming campaign. This ranges from loan paperwork, to legal documents, to marketing materials. This is a HUGE undertaking, but we’re plugging along and will have everything set once we’re ready to launch.
– It may only be February, but it’s never too early to start planning next year’s budget. We take our fiscal responsibilities very seriously, so we make sure to be thoughtful that we’re spending the co-op’s money in ways that benefit our members.
– Our next meeting is February 21st, at 7pm. Board meetings are always open to our membership and we encourage anyone interested in learning more about how your board is functioning to attend.

Member Spotlight: Desarae Pierce

Desarae Pierce and her husband, Nate have been married for five years and have a little boy who will be 2 in February. They own a home on the lake in Evansdale. Desarae grew up in Cedar Falls and graduated from Cedar Falls High School, then earned her Associates degree at Hawkeye Community College, and was accepted to Allen College in Waterloo. She works at Allen hospital as an x-ray technologist. Her husband grew up in Waterloo and graduated from West High School. Nate owns his own business, The Shinehouse, window tinting and automotive detailing, and is a business partner of the Cedar Falls Food Co-op!

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Recipe: Beef Stew

Happy new year! A time to reminisce. A time to cuddle up with warm memories of the comforting food we know will always satisfy our bellies. As we cuddle up under the warmth of blankets in our winter wonderland here in Iowa, what better time to pull out an old recipe. A recipe that has been made time and time again with fresh, wonderful ingredients without fail. Hearty, tasty bites of potato, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and beef. Yup, you guessed it, beef stew. As the smell of this pot-full of goodness drifts through the house, it also brings the comfort of warm memories we leave behind as we turn the calendar to 2018.Continue reading

Board Happenings: December 2017

– Our volunteers have been absolutely AMAZING this past year! Our members have volunteered over 3000 hours, which equals over $72,000 in wages!
– Our Capital Campaign committee has been hard at work, and we know we’ll have an exciting few months ahead of us.
– The majority of our meeting was spent planning out our activities for the next four months. We are at a very exciting time in our development, and there are going to be a lot of great news coming out very soon. Some of these plans include:
             – Finalizing job descriptions for both our Capital Campaign Coordinator and the General Manager.
             – Revising our mission and vision statements
             – Working on our business plan, and…
             – Launching our Capital Campaign!
– In case you didn’t know, all our board meetings are open to our membership, so if you want to hear all of our exciting news first hand you are invited to attend our meetings. They are always held the 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 7pm at Millrace.

Happy 2018! from your Outreach Coordinator

Time and Talent
When we open our doors we will employ many people; but to get to that stage, we rely on volunteers every step of the way. You may be aware of the earlier “working member” co-op model where member-owners provided volunteer hours to their co-op or, in some cases, were required to do so. This model is not used with new co-ops; instead we will hire employees who receive competitive wages and benefits. However, until we can start hiring, we rely mainly on volunteers. Now is the time volunteers are most needed to get our doors open. Our development efforts are sustained by enthusiastic volunteers who put in countless hours of time and talent. In 2017, dozens of individual volunteers gave more than 3000 hours of their combined time. They are the reason we are so far along in our growth – kudos to them! If you wish to join in volunteering this year, please contact me.

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From the President: Tom’s Annual Grab Bag Full of Year End Updates

The year is almost over, and that means it’s time for my annual grab bag column. Much like the lunches I just had over the recent holiday weekend, the assorted tidbits and details should make a full meal. Enjoy!


New Board Leadership

At the November meeting of your board of directors, we elected new officers and realigned some of our committee leadership. Here are the new or updated roles:

Tom Wickersham, President

Andrew Morse, Vice president

Jess Cruz, Secretary

Scott Wirtz, Treasurer

Brenna Griffin, Membership Chair

Jess Cruz, Communications Chair

Scott Wirtz, Finance Chair

Terry Stewart, Operations Chair

Andrew Morse, Capital Campaign Chair

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Members Add Value to Their Investment by Making Gifts of Membership to Others

Cindy and Russ Dodd felt so strongly about their investment soon after purchasing their own member share that they bought shares for their children. As Cindy puts it, “Purchasing Cedar Falls Food Co-op memberships was an opportunity to invest in Cedar Falls. Both of our children live here and enjoy healthy food. We believe in shopping locally and knew it would be fun for our families to be part of this business from the beginning and watch it progress. This is a gift that will give back for years.” And as is evident from this photo of the Dodd family, the impact of these share purchases extends beyond the member-owner to several other household members.

Of course, families are probably not the only ones on your holiday gift list this year.

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