—by Kathryn Tempasbutternut squash

I plant a variety of winter squash in my garden, and in late September/early October I begin harvesting these jewels of fall and winter. Squash stores well and is an excellent source of vitamin A. You’ll find local squash at a good price, and here are a few tempting recipes to get you started. These recipes use butternut squash, which is somewhat shaped like a bowling pin. I find it easiest to peel if you cut off the bottom to make it level.

—by Roxanne Bergeron

I have a problem with death.

—by Nicole Infinity

We recently threw ourselves a wedding. With 60 folks, we managed to keep to our $500 budget, and produce just a handful of garbage. Included in this article are most of the things we did to keep the cost and waste low. Use these ideas as jumping off points and remember that the things you want to do or have at your wedding can probably be created using reused, borrowed, or thrift store items. If you don’t have crafty skills, ask for help from a friend or relative who does. Some of the best wedding presents you receive will be the time of the folks you care about. Even using a few of these suggestions will reduce costs and waste.

Invitations and thank yous

Our co-op regularly donates to Midway Food Shelf, which is part of Keystone Community Services. You can help. With holidays coming up, consider donating something that would help create a festive holiday meal. Or, think about the basics that every kitchen needs: salt, sugar, flour, spices, cooking oil. Non-food items such as personal care items or paper products are always welcome.

Co-op shoppers always receive a 28% discount on anything they purchase for the food shelf. Tell the cashier that your purchase is for the food shelf; the cashier will then place it in our donation box.

—by Jesse Winsell

As we look forward to the annual meeting on October 27, I am thinking about two seemingly different things that are connected by a common theme: customer engagement.

The first is the power of social media. The second is store equipment upgrades. The co-op must engage in both in order to stay relevant and to create value for members.

Social media

During the summer, I sat in the co-op entryway one Saturday morning and talked to people about plans for the annual meeting and anything else early morning shoppers wanted to discuss.

—by Naomi Jackson, Membership Coordinator

Annual meeting survey

Thank you to everyone who filled out the annual meeting survey in August and September. Your responses were very helpful in the planning process, and will affect how we run our annual meetings in the future.

Everyone who provided us with contact information was entered in a drawing for co-op gift certificates. Congratulations to Nancy Sogabe-Engelmayer and Bonita Steppa, whose names were drawn at the October 27 annual meeting.

Volunteers, pick up your 2014 wallet cards!

—by Jerry McClelland

A self-guided tour through Minnesota’s Bluff Country
—by Emma Onawa

We Minnesotans have a lot of reasons to be proud—great schools, friendly people, relatively progressive politics, strong industry—and lots of food co-ops. Minnesota boasts at least twenty-one co-op locations, more than any other state in the Midwest and, although not fact-checked, likely in the U.S. These reasons and others, of course, help to make up for the weather.

The Hampden Park Co-op board of directors is currently seeking candidates for the 2013 board election.