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Local food co-op plans continue

IRON RIVER—Planning for the opening of the Northern Lights Grocery Co-op is still underway, as its board members continue to seek the suggestions of the community.
    Glen Waarvik, the Bearded Apple Co-op executive director, said they are seeking the thoughts of members in Iron County as far as what they would like to see the co-op become.
    “We also need people to become owners,” he said.
    Waarvik recently attended a co-op conference in Indiana, where he participated in sessions designed specifically for starting a co-op, he said. Those sessions included information on legal aspects, community ownership and other topics related to a new co-op.
    “It gave us a really good foundation to start on,” Waarvik said.
    The Northern Lights Co-op also won a travel expense and registration paid trip to Idaho in June for the national co-op conference in June.
    As far as funding for the co-op, Waarvik said that Northern Initiatives is helping with the funding. Northern Initiatives is a community development financial institution out of Marquette that delivers loans and business services to small business owners and entrepreneurs who create jobs in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.
    Community members were invited to a kick-off event at the Windsor Center on Feb. 20, where they met board members, local vendors and learned about the plans for the co-op.
    The general manager and outreach director of the Marquette Food co-op both attended the event and presented the Northern Lights Co-op with a $500 check for Waarvik to attend the conference in Indiana.
    The event consisted of a speech, the showing of “Food for Change” and a question-and-answer session, he said.
    In addition to the kick-off event,

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