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Forums scheduled Sept. 27, 28 on community-owned grocery

WILLMAR -- The organizing board of the Willmar Community-Owned Grocery is hosting two public forums next week to give interested community members the opportunity to learn more about the project.

The first meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27. The second is at noon Sept. 28. Both meetings, which include a question-and-answer session, will take place in the second-floor conference room at the Willmar Public Library.

Members of the community, local growers, farmers, investors and others are encouraged to attend.

"People want to know more about the food they eat," said Nancy Johnson, a member of the community-owned grocery organizing board. "There is a strong demand for knowing where it was grown, how it was raised and by whom. The community-owned grocery store is a community asset that will bring many people together to create a strong local economy and educated consumers."

The Willmar Community-Owned Grocery, formed in 2010, is working to create a downtown marketplace with an emphasis on local foods and healthy eating choices. Following the cooperative model, it is seeking member-owners and local investors. It will partner with local growers, helping scale to meet customer demand year-round and USDA guidelines for selling in a grocery store.