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Co-op Natural Foods Day
Aug 15, 2013
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed August 17th Co-op Natural Foods Day in South Dakota in honor of the Sioux Falls store’s 40th anniversary. The Co-op got its start on a farm near Garretson in the early 1970s. A small group would pool their money to buy foods like rolled oats, sunflower seeds and brown rice from a warehouse in the Twin Cities. Peter Dye, a former member remembers taking a Volkswagon bus to a Grateful Dead concert and picking up food on the way home. Co-op Natural Foods operated more formally from a few sites around and in Sioux Falls before landing at its current store at 2504 South Duluth about five years ago.
As the operation grew, the store went mainstream as a professionally run business. Co-op Natural Foods now has 1,300 active, stock-holding members, but anyone is welcome to shop at the full-service grocery store specializing in organic products, natural goods, bulk ingredients, and local foods. General Manager Molly Langley says they’ve never lost their “emphasis on providing fresh, healthy food with a transparent production history.”
The store is celebrating this Saturday with a tasting party from 2 – 4 p.m. Several Co-op vendors like Crow Peak Brewing Company and Breadico will serve samples in the store’s parking lot – weather permitting. The event is free and open to the public. At 2:30 they’ll present an award to the late Senator George McGovern for his career-long devotion to helping feed the hungry. The award will be accepted by Judy Harrington, a former McGovern staffer who helped organize the George McGovern Memorial Fund donations to Feeding South Dakota.
“This started out as a moment to celebrate 40 years and its gotten kind of emotional on us,” Langley says. “A lot of people have done a lot over the years to keep the Co-op going.”