Just in time to kick off the
International Year of Cooperatives
, nine community organizations will get a bit more operating power thanks to the Minneapolis-based Wedge Co-op
The natural food grocer, which has 15,000 members, recently announced the recipients of their annual Wedgeshare grant program: The Emergency Foodshelf Network
, Youth Farm and Market Project, The Cornucopia Institute
, Open Arms of Minnesota
, Farmers Legal Action Group
, Water Legacy
, Minnesota Food Association
, Gardening Matters
, and Urban Baby
Since 1997, Wedgeshare grants have been awarded to numerous community organizations, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding. The recipients are chosen by the grocer's members, giving them a strong voice in the process.
"Our members love that they can vote on this, and be involved," says Lindy Bannister, General Manager of The Wedge. "The recipients are always closely linked to our neighborhood, and that helps members feel connected to what's going on here."
The program started as a way for the co-op to give back to the community, and Bannister notes that it's grown into a very popular program.
"It's getting stronger every year, and the applications are becoming better in terms of detail and storytelling," she says. "I think people are more and more aware of the needs in the community; they're paying attention."
The grants are particularly notable this year, since the United Nations declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives, with the aim of celebrating the social and economic benefits of cooperative businesses.
Source: Lindy Bannister, The Wedge Co-op
Writer: Elizabeth Millard