Valley Natural Foods has served the south metro region of the Twin Cities in Minnesota for 35 years. Since opening our current store located at 13750 County Road 11 in 2001, we have given back nearly $383,000 in donations to support our local community. In just 5 years we have more than doubled our community donations from $35,000 in FY2007 to nearly $83,000 in FY2011-2012. We've strategically developed, coordinated and/or expanded new outreach and education programs to directly benefit the needs of local residents and to support our mission of a healthy community. These programs include Community Night at the Co-op, the Cooperative Community Fund, Midwest Food Connection, the Green Stamp Program, and the Run for Hope 5k. We are strongly committed to giving back to our community according to the cooperative principles of "education" and "concern for community." We support organizations, causes and projects that fit our mission and have a direct impact on or are located in the south metro area.
Community Donations Request form is available here.
Our Mission is a healthy community.
Our Values are FRESH.
Below are the major programs included in our FY 2011-2012 Community Action Report. Download our complete FY2011-2012 Community Action Report for more detailed information and figures.
In September 2010, the Community Night at the Co-op program launched as both a fundraiser and a way to teach families at Westview Elementary how to live a healthy, economical lifestyle. Valley Natural Foods donated funds to Westview and families were invited into the store one evening a month through May 2011 to enjoy nutritious food sampling, a healthy slider (hamburger) meal from our deli department, fun learning activities in our classroom, along with receiving new recipes and shopping tips.
During FY2011-2012, Community Night expanded, involving four local elementary schools: Westview (Apple Valley), Northview (Eagan), Gideon Pond (Burnsville) and Sioux Trail (Burnsville). Valley Natural Foods collectively donated $7,200 to the schools for participating in the program. For FY2012-2013, all four schools are back for another fun filled year of learning how to eat healthy. There are lots of new activities for this year. There will be a bike giveaway, different satisfying healthy meals sold each community night and lots of fun “kids in the kitchen” activities in the classroom. Community Night will only be offered once a month from September 2012 through May 2013. The 2012-2013 dates are: September 11, October 2, November 13, December 4, January 8, February 5, March 5, April 2, and May 7.
In 2005, Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation selected Valley Natural Foods to sponsor a Cooperative Community Fund (CCF). Valley Natural Foods is one of 30 food co-ops across the U.S. involved in this giving program referred to as the Give Where You Live Campaign.
The interest accrued on the store's original investment ($5000) in the endowment fund is distributed to a local non-profit each spring. Each year, member-owners help grow the fund through donation of their patronage refunds and through using their Affinity Credit Card from Spire Community Credit Union. Additionally, anyone can make a tax-deductible, charitable donation to the Valley Natural Foods CCF.
Member-owners also get a chance to vote on the non-profit who receives the fund each year through online voting in mid-October. The FY2011-2012 CCF recipient of a $1,458 check was 360 Communities. 360 Communities has a network of five food shelves that provide food assistance to residents in need within Dakota County. Past recipients include Dakota Woodlands and the Minnesota Valley Humane Society.
To be considered as a nominee for the next CCF award, send an e-mail to the Community Action Committee at Valley Natural Foods and indicate in 75-150 words why your organization should be considered a nominee. Send inquiries to email@example.com. For questions, call the Education and Promotions coordinator at 952-891-1212, #236.
Valley Natural Foods takes action toward creating a healthy community. A committee made up of Valley Natural Foods employees meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month to provide support to local south metro organizations and events that align with the store's values: Family, Relationships, Education, Sustainability and Health and mission: a healthy community. Valley Natural Foods provides support in the form of advertising, silent auction, gift certificate, cash or product donations.
During FY2011-2012, our Community Action Committee donated over $8,100 in the form of cash and gift baskets to community events/charities. We were also able to secure over $20,000 in product donations from our vendors for local community event support.
To be considered for a donation, please fill out a donation form, four-six weeks in advance of your event. The event or organization must serve our south metro trade area (Burnsville, Apple Valley, Eagan, Rosemount, Lakeville, Savage or Bloomington) and reflect our mission and values. Please also list your affiliation to Valley Natural Foods (i.e., member-owner or staff) on the donation form if applicable. Priority is given to member-owners and staff.
Sustainability is part of Valley Natural Foods' FRESH values. Sustainability includes making a conscious effort to protect the environment and reduce waste.
FY2011-2012 Green Stamp recipients were The School of Environmental Studies’ Partnership Garden, The Woodhill Urban Agricultural Group and the Garden at River Ridge. Collectively, $1,800 was donated to these organizations.
We reward our consumers for using reusable tote bags when shopping. For every tote bag they use, they receive a stamp on their receipt worth $.05 which can be donated toward that quarter's Green Stamp Recipient who demonstrates environmental stewardship. If you are interested in being a Green Stamp recipient, fill out a Community Donations Request form and write "green stamp program" as their request. There must be a demonstrated link to environmental stewardship.
Since FY2007, Valley Natural Foods has contributed $131,500 to Midwest Food Connection (MFC). MFC provides local school districts with lessons to optimize unique classroom experiences around food, nutrition, culture, agriculture, and science. The funding we've provided has allowed MFC to develop new and expanded lessons in surrounding school districts including Lakeville, Rosemount/Apple Valley and Burnsville/Eagan.
Lessons focus on Minnesota's Harvest, Grown Near Home, Cold-Weather Eatin', and Gifts from Many Cultures. Beginning in 2010, because of Valley Natural Foods funding, MFC was able to pilot a blended Urban Farming for Kids unit with lessons in the classroom as well as in the garden. For the last two fiscal years first and second graders from Echo Park and Westview Elementary have toured, worked in and learned more about the Co-op Community Gardens at Valley Natural Foods.
During FY2011-2012, Midwest Food Connection taught 145 lessons to 820 students in District 191 and District 196 elementary schools. These schools include Gideon Pond (Burnsville), Echo Park (Burnsville), Sky Oaks (Burnsville), Greenleaf (Apple Valley), Westview (Apple Valley) and Thomas Lake (Eagan).
Valley Natural Foods works closely with 360 Communities, a non-profit that provides food assistance to Dakota County residents in need. 360 Communities has a network of five food shelves located in Apple Valley, Burnsville, Lakeville, Farmington and Rosemount.
Year-round, Valley Natural Foods collects food for 360 Communities in two yellow donation barrels located by the store's exit. 360 Communities volunteers pick-up fruits and vegetables weekly from the produce department.
During the 2011 holidays and for the March 2012 Minnesota FoodShare campaign, Valley Natural Foods orchestrated its 2nd annual food drive program for 360 Communities. Through help from our vendors, we were able to put together food variety bags that customers could purchase for $5.00. Both the food and the proceeds from the sale of the bags were donated to the food shelf. Collectively from both FY2011-2012 campaigns, we were able to donate $3,215 in cash and nearly 1,900 pounds of food to 360 Communities.
Valley Natural Foods also initiated a new fundraising campaign for FY2011-2012 called Unite for Naomi. Many wellness products vendors rallied together for this fundraiser on behalf of store wellness manager, Naomi Lundberg, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. Customers could purchase $5.00 bags of wellness products to donate to 360 Communities’ Burnsville food shelf. Overall we sold 426 bags and raised $2,500 for Naomi.
Valley Natural Foods sponsored and hosted its second annual Run for Hope 5K, a benefit race for Hope for Tomorrow on May 12, 2012. Hope for Tomorrow is a local youth mentoring organization in south metro schools. Over 300 community members have collectively participated in the 5K since its inception in 2011. Valley Natural Foods raised nearly $6,100 from sponsors and participants for the 2012 Run for Hope 5k, which is an $1,100 increase from the previous year. The Run for Hope 5k will be an annual event for Valley Natural Foods. The next Run for Hope 5k race is scheduled for May 4, 2013.