Our food shelf volunteer, Deb Ahlborg, reports that in 2013 our co-op donated 1609 pounds of food and five bus passes to the Midway Food Shelf. That’s approximately 200 pounds more than last year. Thanks to everyone who made donations.

Co-op shoppers receive a 28% discount for anything they purchase for the food shelf. Leave your purchases with the cashier when you check out. Current food needs include: canned meats, soups and stews, rice, pasta, flour, sugar, and cooking oil.

Donations from your home cupboard are welcome as long as seals are intact and the product is not out of date.

—by Kari Simonson, building manager

As many of you probably know, there are a number of other tenants in the 928 Raymond Building besides the Hampden Park Co-op. Have you ever wondered who those tenants are and what they do? Here’s your chance to learn about the other occupants in our lovely turn-of-the-century building!

The following is an introduction to the four other tenants in their own words. All of their entrances are on the Hampden Avenue side of the building, either directly into their space, as in the case of Vienna Community Arts, or through the double doors under the archway that open to a shared staircase for second-floor tenants.

—by Emma Onawa

Sugar! Admit it, we all love it, even though it can wreak havoc on our bodies. Sugar sweetens our lives in many ways, but there’s an aspect to sugar that’s not so sweet. The U.S. agricultural policy on sugar is anachronistic and expensive, yet surprisingly resistant to reform.

The U.S. produces sugar from two primary sources: cane and beets. Cane and beet sugar are essentially indistinguishable. Sugar cane is produced primarily in four southern states, as well as Hawaii, with Florida the leader in sugar cane production. Beet sugar is grown in 11 states, with Minnesota the leader in production.

—by Roxy Bergeron

—by Nicole Infinity

After being volunteering members of the co-op for a couple of years now, we still find new foods in every section. Over the past year, we have made an increased effort to reduce our amount of recycling and garbage by buying fewer foods with packages. Also known as, bulk is fantastic.

Now, I am not talking about the Costco/Sam’s Club version of bulk with processed foods in packages within packages within packages. I am talking about the lovely corner in the co-op full of happiness and food to put into jars and other containers of your choosing.

HPC is again offering garden seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, which is located in Decorah, Iowa. SSE is committed to preserving agricultural diversity by growing and sharing heirloom seeds.

This year we will be carrying over 100 varieties of SSE vegetable, flower, prairie, and herb seeds. If you want to start your plants indoors, we have tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, broccoli, eggplant, and more.

Visitors are encouraged at Seed Savers Exchange. Their Lillian Goldman Visitors Center is open March through December and hosts workshops and food-related events. For more information, visit their website at

—by Stacie Robinson

Wild rice is a staple of Minnesota’s natural nutrition as well as cultural heritage. The waving stands of grass are part of the picturesque vision of Minnesota’s lake country. According to Anishinaabe lore, those rice-rich lakes, “food that grows upon the water,” were the signal that early tribes had found the right land to settle. The abundant grains fed native communities and nourished waterfowl and other wetland wildlife populations. Today wild rice is still a keystone of Minnesota lake ecosystems, and a delicious and popular wild crop.

—by Jesse Winsell, Chair of Hampden Park Co-op Board of Directors

I recently had a breakthrough moment that made me realize why mission/vision is important for an organization. Before this, I must admit that I did not see a need for an organization to have a mission. “Mission Shmission,” I would think to myself.

To me, it mattered more that the co-op was doing a good job attracting customers and serving its member-owners. This stuff matters, of course, but my personal breakthrough helped me realize that having a mission is critical to defining what a “good job” means, and how the organization should be “serving” its members and the community.