Friday, March 14, 2014

Interview with Jenifer Angerer of New Pioneer Co-op, pt. 2

New Pioneer Co-op has been providing the Iowa City corridor with fresh, organic, and locally grown food since 1971. For decades, they have paved the way for other Iowa markets interested in providing their own communities with local, organic food. Today, New Pi has expanded to be more than just a grocery store. The market has grown, and New Pi plans to open a new store in Cedar Rapids early next year. The University of Iowa Press asked Jenifer Angerer, the marketing manager, some questions about the expansion, what New Pi offers its members, and the future of buying local and organic.
Alemar Cheese at New Pioneer Co-op, image from Facebook
Why do you think supplying the community with locally and regionally grown food is important?
When you support your local farmers and producers, you are putting your money back in to the community in which you live. You are also reducing the carbon footprint your food consumption leaves on the planet, and local food is about as fresh as you can get (short of growing it yourself). Iowa is one of the world’s largest producers of agricultural crops, yet we import over 90% of the food we eat. In Iowa, we don’t grow many crops for human consumption, and we’d love to see that focus shift.
Why do you think there has been an increase in demand for local and organic foods in the past few years? Do you think the trend will continue or level off?
Community concern and awareness about “where their food comes from” continues to expand into the mainstream and we believe this trend will continue. With global warming and other environmental issues continuing to be a major concern for the world, finding ways to improve our collective carbon footprint will continue to grow.
The dishes on your food blog look delicious! Who writes the posts and makes the dishes? Does everything come from food available at New Pi?
Thank you! Our Catalyst newsletter Editor, Allison Gnade, writes and cooks most of the posts, though other staff members and co-op member-owners contribute to the blog as well. Our Co-op community is deep in food knowledge and, at this time when cooking knowledge is disappearing, it seems like a shame not to share what we know. And yes, the great ingredients come from the Co-op shelves. Flavorful ingredients make it easy to put a delicious meal on the table! We love sharing hidden gems from the store, like our 32-Bean Soup Mix, cooking seasonally, and sharing cooking tips and tricks.
Can you tell us more about the Earth Source Gardens? What's growing there now?

Earth Source Gardens is a community garden offering over 60 garden plots to New Pioneer member-owners, who have the opportunity to sign up annually for a plot to grow annual vegetables and flowers organically (plot registration is available through March 25!). New Pioneer has planted orchards, berry bushes, and annual demonstration plots in the garden for community enjoyment and education as well. Everyone’s welcome to community Garden Parties during the summer – stay tuned for our Equinox party in June – we’d love to see you there!

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