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Wild Root Market

Feature

How The Wild Root Market Concept Came to Be

Dear Friend:

In 2006, a market study showed that a downtown Racine grocer specializing in natural foods could fare quite well. But thanks, in part, to the slowing economy at the time, the idea fizzled. Fast forward to late 2009, when a small group of people, keenly interested in fresh, local and sustainable food options for Racine, met around a dining room table to talk about the feasibility of starting a community-owned grocery store. Friends from the Twin Cities (Pat Cumbie, CDS Consulting and Sean Doyle, Seward Co-Op) presented information including a copy of "How To Start a Food Co-op", along with the names of others who would prove to be invaluable resources. We were inspired. Knowing that a similar idea had previously gotten some traction, this enterprising group of folks decided to spend loads of their personal time and energy educating themselves about starting a co-op and began to seriously breathe life into the project now known as, and aptly named, the Wild Root Market. (Racine means "root" in French, after all!)  During the summer of 2010, six of us ventured to cooperatives in Madison, Viroqua and LaCrosse, learning as much as we could about how those co-ops got started and how they are managing to thrive in their communities.  Our group has now grown from a small handful to twelve steering committee members who are meeting on a regular basis to move this idea forward.

We're working on behind-the-scenes activities such as articles of incorporation and by-laws, grants for the feasibility study, location scouting, etc. Our thanks to so many who have already expressed interest in helping. We're almost ready for you! We are learning and, like most projects, things take longer than expected. We're grateful for your support and are excited to introduce you to our team.

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Other stories

Meet Our Steering Committee

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Colleen Wilkinson, Wind Point

Colleen Wilkinson, Wind Point

WRM Committee Chair

Homemaker and Community Development Leader 

Colleen, along with her husband and three children, has lived in the area for five years.  She has a B.S. in Educational Policy and Community Studies and understands that Racine County has an abundance and variety of foods, products and services developed right here that are not widely known, advertised or sold. Racine has struggled during this economic downturn and bringing a store -- a community-owned grocery store -- to the area would positively impact our rural economy and act as a catalyst in developing a sustainable, strong local economy.

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Jim Chambers, Racine

Jim Chambers, Racine

Site Committee

Architect, LEED A.P., FWC Architects

Jim has lived in the Racine area for 10 years with his wife and fellow committee member, Megan. They have two children and three grandchildren. He graduated with a B.S. in Architectural Engineering from Purdue University and serves as the committee's lead on co-op architecture, engineering and design. He believes that, to flourish as a community, Racine needs to enhance its quality of life and a great cooperative market is one of the most fundamental and effective ways to do that. 

 

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Lizz Fabel, Caledonia

Lizz Fabel, Caledonia

Marketing, Design & Promotions

Part-time finance/administration lead at a Milwaukee ad agency; Owner, The Traveling Chef

Lizz has lived in the area for 24 years. She graduated from Syracuse University and completed the coursework for an MFA. Her interest in cooking and health makes her a natural advocate for a place to buy wholesome foods that appeal to those food shoppers who are conscious about quality and sustainability. As she sees it, price is not the only factor for quality-minded shoppers; they seek the best possible product to put inside their bodies, the only one they have! 

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Heidi Fannin, Caledonia

Heidi Fannin, Caledonia

Marketing, Design & Promotions

Owner, Body Wellness, specializing in food and health coaching and massage therapy; Chair of Empty Bowls - Racine

Heidi has lived in the area with her family for 14 years and is passionate about health/food issues.  She has an Associate's degree in social work and is a recent graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City.  She's also a licensed massage therapist and mom of two who firmly believes Racine is ready for a market that supports local farmers because we're beginning to prioritize where our food originates, who and what it supports and the quality of our food choices.

 

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Barb Farrar, Kenosha

Barb Farrar, Kenosha

Human Resources

Human Resources professional at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside

Barb was born and raised in the Midwest. About two years ago, she relocated to Racine with her partner, Ellen, and their two dogs after twenty years in San Francisco. She has a Bachelor's in Political Science and a Master's in Organizational Development. As a farm kid growing up eating from her backyard, she believes everyone should have access to fresh and untainted food. The corporate farm has been a disaster for our culture in terms of our health, destroying small farms and creating a society based on weird processed foods. Luckily, people are waking up to this reality and are eager to support local farms and businesses, eat fresh, healthy food and make conscious decisions about where to buy it. Which is why she knows Racine and Kenosha are hungry for Wild Root Market!

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Alida Harper Trocke, Caledonia

Alida Harper Trocke, Caledonia

Marketing, Design & Promotions

Owner, House on the Dirt Human Resources Consulting

Alida was born and raised in the Midwest and has lived in the area for 8 years with her husband, their daughter, two cats and two greyhounds. She graduated from Loyola University in Chicago with an M.S. in HR Management and believes our community is ripe for introducing a full-service market specializing in fresh, healthy food options for local families. Since we’re all becoming more aware of the vital importance of eating real, unprocessed foods, she believes Wild Root Market would be a place to obtain good-for-you, real foods as well as a place for all of us to learn about healthy eating, sustainable growing and other subjects essential to the health and well-being of our families, our community and our planet.

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Camela Langendorf, Racine

Camela Langendorf, Racine

Marketing, Design & Promotions

Physical Therapist & Owner, Images by Camela Photography 

Camela grew up in Kenosha, went to UW-Madison and has lived in Racine for the last 15 years with her husband and two sons.  She has a Master's Degree in Physical Therapy from Concordia University. In her view, Wild Root Market would serve as a community hub to embrace the numerous benefits that, by nature, a local food movement produces. More than just a grocery store, Wild Root Market will be a place for all members of the community to come learn, grow, teach, share and experience the innumerable gifts that come from nourishing one’s mind and body with food that is grown, produced, distributed and marketed in a responsible and conscious manner.

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Megan O'Driscoll, Racine

Megan O'Driscoll, Racine

Marketing, Design & Promotions

Registered Nurse & Manager of the Bariatric Surgery Program at the Bariatric Institute of Wisconsin

Megan, who is married to committee member, Jim, has lived in the area for 6 years.  As a Registered Nurse with a B.S. in Business Administration, she concurs that Racine needs a fresh, quality and locally-grown source for food.  She believes in the axiom, “When you build a co-op, you build a community” and wants to see that happen here. Further, she's excited to be part of a locally-owned business that keeps our money in the Racine economy!

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Amanda Paffrath, Racine

Amanda Paffrath, Racine

Finance & Incorporation

Owner, Funky Hannah’s Co-Owner, Hot Shop Glass

Amanda, who's married to fellow WRM'er, Mark, has lived in the area most of her life and graduated from UW - Madison with a B.A. in Sociology and Social Welfare. She and Mark have two school-aged children and, as a parent and local business owner (two in fact!), Amanda knows Racine needs a convenient one-stop shop for good food! She believes it just makes sense to create access to as much locally-produced food as possible in a store owned and run by local people.

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Mark Paffrath, Racine

Mark Paffrath, Racine

Marketing, Design & Promotions

Singer/Songwriter & Multi-Instrumentalist (www.markpaffrath.com)

While he likes being able to claim New York City as his hometown (it is, at least, the town of his birth), he's lived virtually all his life in Racine and is privileged to share in the wondrous and stimulating experience of parenting his and Amanda's two beautiful children. In addition to being a full-time touring musician, he's involved with the operations and maintenance of Amanda’s retail bead store/art gallery and glass blowing facilities in downtown Racine.  While there are similar organizations in surrounding (but somewhat distant) communities, you can't find significant alternative food buying options locally which is why he fervently believes Racine needs, deserves and will easily support its own food co-op providing healthy, safe, organic foods and other necessary items to all.

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Alisa Swire, Racine

Alisa Swire, Racine

Finance & Incorporation

Vice President and General Counsel, Johnson Outdoors

Alisa has lived in the community for 17 years and, in addition to being a parent and an attorney, acts as reality checker and sounding board to committee members. Alisa firmly believes we each carry responsibility for our individual health, that of our families as well as our community and that Racine will reap rich rewards in having a member-controlled business that offers fresh, local and nutritious food and other products you'd expect of a full-service market. 

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Waleed Ahmed

Liaison, Racine/Kenosha Community Action Agency

Board Secretary/Treasurer, Sustainable Edible Economic Development (S.E.E.D.)

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