ROCKFORD, Minn. - Once served by their own grocery store, residents in Rockford and Greenfield, just west of the Twin Cities, are now driving at least ten miles to get fresh fruits and vegetables.
With the high price of gas, many don't want to do that anymore so some are starting up a member owned food co-op.
At the Bridge Street Café they cook from scratch because that's when food tastes best. But ingredients can be hard to come by in Rockford since losing the grocery store six years ago.
Rockford resident Pat Cohen said, "We have to get out of town to get to a grocery store, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Delano. There's nothing, there's just nothing here. In fact were kind of thinking about moving out of the community because of the grocery store."
Unable to attract another grocery store, Rockford and nearby Greenfield residents have now baked up the idea to start their own food co-op from scratch. It's called the Crow River Food Co-op.
Nancy Carswell with the Crow River Food Co-op said, "We don't have a store location at this point but we have a group of citizens who are very dedicated to the project."
The co-op would stock fresh, healthy, food from local growers like Trumpeter Swan Farm in Buffalo.
Ashley Rickards, manager of Trumpeter Swan Farm said, "I would think it would be great I would love to have more employees and to be able to expand our crops and our fields."
But before the crops are raised, Carswell said the co-op must first raise one-million dollars in capital, part of it coming from $200 membership fees from 500 residents.
She said, "We thought if a members' owned cooperative grocery store could come to town people would support it because they would be members of it."
Cohen said of him and his wife, "We're definitely willing to do that."
Others like him say they will become members. But there are some who would rather continue driving ten to fifteen miles for groceries than have to dish out a couple hundred bucks to have groceries close by.
Rockford resident Steve Eagles said, "I can't justify paying that much money to go grocery shopping I'm already paying them for the food."
Carswell said there are ten-thousand people in the Rockford - Greenfield area. So those creating the co-op are confident they can get enough members.
It's still not clear when the Crow River Food Co-op would open. Carswell said, on average, it takes two years to open a co-op so it may open in 2014.
She said the city of Rockford, an Allina Neighborhood Health Connection grant and the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls have helped with start-up costs.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)