LONG LAKE, Minn., Oct 26, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer visited the Harvest Moon Natural Foods Co-op in Long Lake, Minn., today to highlight how USDA funds and the Food Co-op Initiative helped get Harvest Moon up and running.
Using a grant from USDA’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program, the Food Co-op Initiative provided technical support and guidance as Harvest Moon evolved from an idea with strong community support into a reality. Located at 2380 West Wayzata Blvd., Harvest Moon is now a full-service grocery store that offers organic foods – much of it locally grown – and a full-service deli that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“Whether we’re in a rural or urban area, it’s important that we continue working to increase access to locally produced foods,” Landkamer said. “More access to local foods means a stronger regional economy and healthier communities. It also means that we’re doing a better job of connecting farmers and producers with the individuals and families that buy the food they grow.”
The Food Co-op Initiative, based in Dennison, Minn., has used RCDG grants over the last three years to support the start-up of retail food cooperatives throughout the United States. Using a specially designed development model, the Food Co-op Initiative works to enable a faster and more efficient start-up process to develop new retail grocery co-ops that create local jobs and establish new markets for local producers.
The idea for Harvest Moon was formed in 2006 and the store opened in June of 2010. The Food Co-op Initiative has used RCDG funds to work with Harvest Moon from the beginning.
"The RCDG and the Food Co-op Initiative were essential in sourcing the expert, technical support that Harvest Moon needed to open and continually improve the business,” said David Giedd, Harvest Moon General Manager. “Harvest Moon was very fortunate to have participated in the program, as the cost of this support would otherwise have been a prohibitive obstacle for a new business."
The primary objective of the RCDG program is to improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting individuals or entities in the startup, expansion or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other business entities. More information on the RCDG program can be found here.
In addition to cooperative support, USDA Rural Development invests in housing, community facilities, infrastructure, business development, renewable energy and high-speed Internet in rural communities. Since 2009, Rural Development has invested over $3.5 billion throughout Minnesota.
To learn more, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn, or contact an office in your area.