A diverse group of people came together in October 2011 with the shared interest of having a food co-op in our community. In true ND form, we met at a truck stop in Bismarck called the Oasis. Around 30 people were in attendance. These people all had a common thread running through them. They cared about community, access to fresh local food, and working hard to get things done. Many informal conversations lead to public meetings and in January 2012 we held a visioning session lead by long-time North Dakota co-op developer, Bill Patrie. This visioning session was open to the public and around 25 people participated in the process to share their ideas, visions, and goals for the future of good food in Bismarck-Mandan.
From the visioning session we created a mission statement and steering committee. This committee was our core group and served during our organizing and planning phase. Finally, in June 2013 we incorporated as a Cooperative Association in North Dakota and our steering committee transitioned to our board of directors. We were able to launch our membership drive and get the co-op train rolling!
From our membership launch in the summer of 2013 to August 2014, we grew our membership to over 600 invested member-owners! We are one of the fastest growing start-up's in the country and we are proud of our progress to date. Our strength is in our leadership, community-building, and of course, our member-owners. We have had so many talented individuals step forward to offer their skills and time to help the co-op thrive through each stage of development. We could not do this without support from the community, and for that we are grateful. From our website, to our marketing plan, to our brochure, logo and board of directors, we have seen nothing short of the best. We our proud to call these folks our member-owners and friends. People have weaved in and out as their time and lives have allowed, but we know that in the end, the project was made better because all of these combined contributions.