The crossroads of all things food in Marquette is getting a little bigger

On a recent trip up to Marquette, I noticed construction materials next to signage for the Marquette Food Co-Op just outside downtown. Come to find out, the Marquette Food Co-Op, which spreads the love of locally sourced food throughout the Upper Peninsula, has been going through an expansion period for the past year.

They are opening a new store, which was purchased last year. It will have wider aisles, a larger selection, more local products and meeting space. Next door to the new location, the Co-Op kitchen is already in use creating homemade salads, sandwiches, soup, burritos, and seasonal fare, allowing for on-the-go options within the grocery store.

CoopBaraga-e1339612597373With an emphasis on hyper-local goods, the Marquette Food Co-Op runs on commitments to their farmers, shoppers, and the Upper Peninsula as a whole. The Co-Op promises to pay the farmers a fair share for their products, sell their products for an attractive price, display information about the farmers in store, provide a directory of Upper Peninsula farms, host an annual forum, sponsor farm tours, provide educational workshops to schools and business groups, and work with the community to build a “vibrant, local food economy.”

The Marquette Food Co-Op is open daily from 9am to 9pm. Their mission, like most other food co-ops, is to provide quality, healthy foods to the community. In doing so, the co-op supports farmers and producers in the Upper Peninsula. There is no membership required to utilize the Marquette Food Co-Op. Offering a wide range of goods and services, the community is able to visit the co-op as a one-stop shop for their food while supporting their local food economy.

In addition, the Marquette Food Co-Op implements an interesting and beneficial resource to their products. Eco-labels are used to provide information to the consumer about how the food was grown, whether or not the animal was raised humanely, and if the product contains substances we should add or eliminate from our diets. The eco-labels include, but are not limited to, USDA Organic, Certified Naturally Grown, MAEAP (Environmentally Assured Farm), Grass-Fed, Hormone-Free, Raised Without Antibiotics, Conventional and Authentic.

General Manager of the Marquette Food Co-Op, Matt Gougeon, describes the co-op as “the crossroads of all things food in Marquette. We act as not only a retailer of healthy, organic, and local foods, but also as an educator about food and food issues.”

The Marquette community places importance on their health and educating other community members on the opportunities available in strengthening this mindset through the care of the individual and the care of the environment.

“The Marquette Food Co-Op stands out among other retailers in that we actively work to build a local and regional food system. Local food promoted by a community owned organization [like the Marquette Food Co-Op] makes all the difference in becoming a more resilient and healthy community,” says Gougeon.

Photo credit: Marquette Food Co-Op

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