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Brookings May Get Food Co-Op to Support Local Agriculture

Governor Kristi Noem is keen on handing out taxpayer dollars to local butchers to break the thieving Big Meat packer monopolists. I wonder if she’ll put down some of her own money to support local food through the new Dakota Community Market food co-op raising money to open in Brookings:

The co-op launched member-owner shares on June 1, and they already have around 45 people signed up. They need about 1,000 to open the doors, but that will take some time.

“We follow the three-stage co-op development model that’s supported by the Food Co-op Initiative, which is a nonprofit that supports the successful launch of food co-ops. We’re in stage one right now. To enter stage two, we need about 300 members, and then it goes up from there until we open the store,” Pallares said [Carter Schmidt, “Food Co-op Being Planned for Brookings, Looking for New Members,” KELO-TV, 2021.06.06].

A thousand founding members would equal $150,000: Dakota Community Market is offering lifetime membership for $150 to get things going, but they know they’ll need to raise more money after that:

The Dakota Community Market Development Board voted to set our membership cost at $150 after reviewing co-op membership fees in comparable communities and the median household and per capita income for Brookings County. We believe this level can be considered an investment in the food co-op but not a barrier for involvement and access. Dakota Community Market is for everyone, and by setting our membership cost and payment plans at a level that will be easy for some, manageable for many, and accessible for hopefully all, we are prioritizing the community in Dakota Community Market.

We will indeed need more money to open Dakota Community Market. The Food Co-op Initiative, an organization that supports the development of food co-ops around the country, estimates it costs $350-$375/sq ft. to open a food co-op. For a 4,000 sq ft. store that comes out to $1.4 million! But memberships are only one way co-ops raise funds to open, and the number of invested member-owners helps us advance to the next stages of development and become eligible to apply for business loans specifically for co-ops. We also plan to hold a capital campaign closer to opening, which will allow the community another opportunity to support us through member loans [Dakota Community Market, FAQ, retrieved 2021.06.07].

Well, investing in a grocery co-op sounds like a better, surer deal than plowing more money into a shrimp factory. Plus, the Brookings co-op would support a variety of local producers who could put a complete meal on our tables:

Kyle Haroldson, who is on this co-op’s steering committee, owns an organic farm near Bruce, South Dakota. He says being able to sell his product locally is much easier.

“It’s interesting that the people buying, they’re part of the co-op or owners too, so they own the co-op and they have input in what they would like to see in the co-op, so for us, we can grow different things. If the customers wants more of something, we can grow more of something, so just that feedback from the community is good as well,” Haroldson said.

“Local is our number-one priority, and then from there, we’ll carry kind of whatever you find at a typical co-op grocery store,” Pallares said [Schmidt, 2021.06.06].

$150K is 2.3% of the loan state government floated to TruShrimp’s still-unbuilt shrimp factory. $150K is a mere 3% of the handouts state government is now giving to butcher shops. Come on, Kristi! If you want to support local ag, you’ll support the new Brookings food co-op!


  1. mike from iowa 2021-06-07 13:52

    Food Co-op and then fund Planned Parenthood and maker 2 wise investments in South Dakota’s peoples.

  2. Porter Lansing 2021-06-07 14:22

    Co-Op’s are stores where members buy a membership to get goods we all use, at a cheaper group rate.

    Costco are stores where members buy a membership to get goods we all use, at a cheaper group rate.

    IREA are power companies where members buy a membership to get power, at a cheaper group rate.

    Modern socialism is using citizen’s taxes to fund a group, to get things we all need at a cheaper group rate.


  3. Jake 2021-06-07 15:08

    ahh Porter-you should’ve been a carpenter as you hit that nail squarely on the head.!!

    The Co-op Way is people helping people; not out of greed for more profits to the individual or corporate wallet, but to the betterment, convenience and fulfillment of those served by the co-op. Corporate power for decades has fought the existence and idea of ‘co-ops’ with a passion because just like the GOP of today they are full of fear that their power might erode. That ‘power’ is the dollar bill flowing thru their hands to control government regulations to their benefit thru donations to political campaigns of those politicians who do their bidding.
    Take for example credit unions; banks have fought them steadily wishing to eliminate their competition for consumers.
    Good going Brookings CO-OP-best of luck. Would join were I not on opposite side of state.
    A non-existent ‘shrimp factory’ example of bad governance again.

  4. grudznick 2021-06-07 16:24

    Co-ops and Costcos are right up there with TV-church…a socialist scam. REAs are OK, though. Sort that out when you’re buying your fancy meats and cheeses from your yuppie butcher down the block, or visiting your high-end neighborhood pastry store.

  5. Mark Anderson 2021-06-07 16:50

    Gosh grudz, now I know why I don’t like Costco, too many socialists getting food and gas. Last big store at the mall too. Had to wear masks, where’s the freedom in that? Oh well, have to buy a new kitchen soon, we will go to IKEA, those Swedes do some things right.

  6. grudznick 2021-06-07 16:55

    IKEA is fine, Mr. Anderson, if you like mass produced furniture you have to put together yourself and then pretend you have some sort of unique piece nobody else has. But for a yuppie store they are fine. It would be OK if we had one in Rapid City.

  7. Porter Lansing 2021-06-07 19:35

    Exactly right, Jake.

    example given – grudznick calling Co-Op’s and Costco socialist when he’s not educated enough to know what modern socialism actually is.

    And, how does a TV church fit into a comparison of membership stores vs businesses that overcharge for their products and enrich their stockholders?

    Have you been to a doctor and told her the truth about your cognitive decline lately, grudznick?

  8. grudznick 2021-06-07 20:19

    Thank you, Mr. Lansing, your chops and salad are tasty and it is the privilege of our deep, manly friendship for me to talk nonsense to you that is above your head, and for you to talk nonsense but have your nonsense respected but ignored.

  9. Porter Lansing 2021-06-07 22:13

    You’re welcome. Love ‘ya like a brother.

  10. Donald Pay 2021-06-07 22:14

    I was involved as a volunteer in the first Sioux Falls food cooperative when it started out back in the 1970’s. We just wanted good food without pesticide residues. I ran the Pierre Food Buying Club for a few years. I was one of the original incorporators for the Breadroot Cooperative in Rapid City. As with most such institutions, they undergo changes over the years. In the early days, it wasn’t so much about helping local producers. There weren’t that many South Dakota producers at that time involved in organic foods, which was the major push at the time. Much of that development came from Minnesota and Wisconsin producers, and from states on the Coasts. The development of an infrastructure for natural foods required trucking and more business-oriented folks. Some of the local grassroots flavor was lost. Pierre Food Buying Club always thought about storefront, but we just didn’t have the customer or producer base to do it. We depended on Minnesota and Wisconsin suppliers and a trucking co-operative to supply us. Breadroot in Rapid City developed from the brain and hard work of Michael Melius, who produced local organic food in his garden. I didn’t have much to do with running this operation, as I was too involved on other issues, but I shopped there.

  11. Mark Anderson 2021-06-08 14:36

    Gee grudz, already raised the ceiling a foot, new lights, ripped out the old tile put in new wood, new walls, new fridge, new stove, new everything and now you tell me those swedes aren’t original but cater to yuppies, should we go to an American store and pay twice as much for the same drawers and storage? If they were Norwegian I would go for sure, any Norsky stores out there?

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