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Rainbow Food Co-op features local artists for anniversary

By Staff | Nov 10, 2019

Local artists who have lent their stunning and unique works to the Rainbow Food Co-op for their 40th Anniversary community art display. The Main Street cooperative was established in the fall of 1979 by a handful of local men and women interested in whole, unadulterated foods not readily available in supermarkets.

Blue Earth’s Rainbow Food Co-op is celebrating a big birthday in a big way. As the locally owned and community operated food co-op turned 40 on Nov. 1, the co-op’s board and its manager, Helena Roe, are planning big things throughout the year.

This month, it is hosting an array of local artists to display their work. Anyone who visits the co-op will be able to see seven local artists and their works displayed in the store.

Artists Shelley Caldwell, Ethan Jordi, Michael Brenneman, Barbara Jean, Bridget Gallagher, Naseem Shahrivar, Megan Wirtjes and Joshua Jordi all have their elegant and unique works on display. Roe says the idea to showcase local artists came from co-op board member, Linda Wells, who has previously showcased her own works at the Rainbow Food Co-op.

Caldwell is from the Delavan area and a BEA graduate, class of 2003. She earned a BFA and MA in Drawing and Installation from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2015, and 2017.

Barbara Jean and Michael Brenneman moved to Blue Earth in 2018. Michael works at AGCO and enjoys photography while Barbara works at the Faribault County Public Works. Her two sons, Ethan and Joshua Jordi, are both college students.

Bridget Gallager lives in Blue Earth and displays and sells her ceramics at BS Studio in Blue Earth. She obtained a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Megan Wirtjes graduated from Blue Earth in 2013 and has a BFA in Art and Graphic Design from MNSU, Mankato. She now has her own business Meg W Designs and also sells her works at BS?Studio.

Naseem Shahrivar lives in the Blue Earth area and has always had an interest in art. She received a BA in visual arts from COE?College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Each of the showcased artists brings a unique flare to the ensemble in the Rainbow Food Co-op.

“The idea behind showing our artists’ creations is to not only show how many local artists we actually have, but to show how beautiful things are when we collaborate with each other,” says Roe.

Besides a large open house during Blue Earth’s Holiday Sampler last Friday evening, the Rainbow Food Co-op will be celebrating their birthday throughout the month of November with an abundance of sales, and spectacular, local deals.

“We have a plethora of local producers and sellers who have their products for sale on our shelves,” says Roe. “It really shows how well a store can work when we work together with the partners already existing inside of the community.”

Roe has been with the Rainbow Food Co-op for nine months so far and says she is excited to continue to bring new products, items, and opportunities into the store as the manager. She joins co-op board members Maria Lindberg, Joe Fering, Dottie Lahti, Janet Gaylord, Cindy Bly, Rita Steele, Linda Wells, and Cassie Owens.

The manager says if you have not stopped into Rainbow Food Co-op in a while to come give things another look around, and let the co-op board and its members know what they are doing well.

“With these new avenues we have been bringing to the community, it only helps our co-op be more vibrant and beneficial to the service we do for the community,” Roe says. “Volunteers to help with the store are always welcome from produce restock, tending to customers, cleaning we have an opportunity for anyone of every ability to help make this store even greater within the next 40 years.”

Roe says she has loved the community support she’s seen since her arrival and only hopes it continues to grow.

“It’s been great to see so many familiar faces, and new faces become shareholders of the co-op, and come in to the store,” she says. “The board and I have been working really hard on bringing a variety of products to the community. From bulk foods to foods for specific dietary needs, a plethora of local health and beauty care items, essential oils and a ton of local and organic products, there’s something here for everyone.”

It is important to note that shoppers do not need to be shareholders to enjoy the benefits of the Rainbow Food Co-op. As a shareholder, members of the community own part of the business, and as members of the business, receive specific perks for being a part of the business, including discounts based on volunteer hours worked per month, and non-working shareholders may order in wholesale units for 10 percent off the retail price of items.

“Whether you’re shopping for the day, or become a shareholder, I’m certain we have something for everyone,” says Roe. “I’m very excited for the upcoming month, and year at the co-op. We are teeming with great ideas and are excited to cooperate with a number of local entities in our community.”