Letters to the Editor


Co-Op clears up misunderstandings

Recently, The North Wind graciously wrote an article about the Marquette Food Co-op’s Local Food & Farm Fair. There were just a couple of clarifications I wanted to make to the article, which brought up farmers markets, the Marquette Food Co-op and buying organic.

There are two important aspects to the buying guidelines of the Marquette Food Co-op. One is we try to buy local and the other is we try to buy organic. We are happy to be able to offer meat all year round from local and organic suppliers. During the peak farming season, 75 percent of the produce at the Marquette Food Co-op is grown in the U.P. The North Wind was correct in saying that produce shipped over long distances doesn’t taste the same; it also doesn’t offer the same level of nutrition as fresh food.  For this reason, the Marquette Food Co-op is dedicated to buying local foods and encouraging the growth of local farming.

Other times of the year, when there are not local tomatoes, broccoli or other popular vegetables available, we are forced by customer demand to get them from somewhere else, and this may include Mexico, just like other grocery stores. The difference is that our produce from Mexico will be USDA certified organic, which means no synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides were used to grow the food.

Though buying organic is sometimes more expensive, this doesn’t mean that buying from local farmers is more expensive. You will find a wide variety of growing practices when you visit a farmers market.  Some farmers are certified organic, some use organic practices but are not certified and still others are conventional. Even organic sellers are often less expensive than buying conventional from a grocery store.  When you buy directly from the farmer, you cut out the middle man. This means both the customer and the farmer get a better price for their products.

Food is such an important part of everyone’s life, and farmers markets are a great place to start learning about it. With markets in Marquette, Negaunee, Gwinn, Skandia and Munising, all students of Northern Michigan University have access to locally-grown food.  If anyone has questions about organic food, the Co-op, or local food and farmers markets, they may feel free to contact me.

Sarah Monte

Education & Publications Coordinator

The Marquette Food Co-op

906-225-0671, ext. 23

[email protected]