If you live in the Oxford area you might have heard of MOON Co-Op. MOON, a natural food cooperative, stands for Miami Oxford Organic Network.
The term co-op means the store is a community, not corporation, owned business that is managed by its members. MOON was started by a group of parents who wanted to be able to purchase high quality food for their children. They would order in bulk and divide the products up among themselves. Eventually this process moved into a store format and became open to the public.
Tana Richards, general manager at MOON Co-Op, said the mission of MOON is to “not only get good food to the community, but to be an outlet for as many local producers as possible”.
MOON Co-op is constantly building relationships with producers, something they have felt strongly about since the beginning. This way they are able to provide as much local produce and meat to the Oxford community as possible.
Richards is proud of MOON’s history of acting as an incubator for small, local businesses. Snowville Creamery, for example, started selling products at MOON Co-Op and the exposure they gained there have allowed them to begin selling milk and yogurt at larger markets such as Jungle Jim’s.
Helping to launch local businesses is not the only rewarding part about working at MOON Co-Op.
Seasonal availability of local produce makes it hard for MOON to keep up with demand. The challenge of keeping a variety of local fruits and vegetables in stock throughout the winter months, however, often creates an opportunity to educate consumers. A costumer might walk into the store and wonder why they cannot buy all of the same things that are available at Kroger. The educational component of MOON allows workers to teach consumers about the importance of carrying food that is fresh instead of shipping products that cannot be grown locally from far away.
For more information on MOON Co-Op and how they are benefitting the community please visit http://www.mooncoop.com/.