Category: From the Board

Member Survey Results + Happy Thoughts!


Greetings!  My name is Brant Kassel and I’m a member of the board for the Iowa Food Cooperative.  We recently sent our members a survey asking their responses on number of items regarding the coop.  We loved hearing your feedback and we always encourage you to reach out and share your thoughts with us.  We’re all in this together and we want to have a coop we can all be proud of.


We learned some interesting things about our members from this survey.  Did you know that over 50% of our members have a garden? This helped explain some of the sales slowing down during the summer months.  One way members can support the IFC is by purchasing your plants from IFC members or at our plant sale. (May 10, 2018 – sorry if we missed you!)  I use plants from the coop in my own garden and have loved the results.


Another interesting survey result was that around 60% of members are a 1 or 2 person household.  If you increase that to 3 people, it becomes 81%. If you know a family that could benefit from being a coop member, let them know!  One the things I like best about the coop is that folks can be as much or as little as they need or want. Maybe someone just buys eggs or someone else gets nearly everything from the coop.  It all matters and it all helps our coop grow.


We also found a higher than expected numbers of folks consume meat on a regular basis.  We hope that our members will choose meat from the coop for a multitude of reasons. Members can ask questions and see how our farmers raise and harvest their meat.  Ingredients are clearly listed online and on packages. Our meat is processed at local lockers that help support rural communities. The production impact of meat purchased the coop is less so than with supermarket meat.  Plus, I think it tastes better!


Lastly, I want to share some of the positive notes our members left for the coop.  We have a great group of people that love what they do and that shows in how our coop runs.  We hope these positive thoughts put you in a better mood and get you excited for your next shopping experience at the Iowa Food Cooperative!


  • The IFC is the best! It makes me feel good that I’m helping local producers make a living and I’m eating foods that come from nearby. Also it is so much healthier! Thank you.
  • Thank you all for the hours you put in to make this possible. Thank you to all the producers who provide great food. Thank you to all the volunteers because you especially make this possible. Thank you to all the customers for supporting our local producers
  • We love you, Iowa Food Co-op! You’ve made cooking so much more fun.
  • IFC food is the best I’ve found.


Thanks for supporting the Iowa Food Cooperative.

From the Board: Member Survey Results

Thanks to board member Susan Seitz for writing these notes about our most recent consumer survey!

Several months ago you were asked to fill out an online survey about your experiences with the Iowa Food Coop. The board appreciates the time and thoughtfulness that went into filling out those surveys and would like to share some information about the results. The following is a small snapshot of the total results. If you would like more details about these results, we can make that happen. For now here are some overall general observations of what our members have experienced while ordering from IFC.

Our membership is pretty much divided into thirds when it comes to length of time in the coop with a little over 1/3 being members for one year or less, a little over 1/3 belonging for one to four years, and a little over 1/4 of our members belonging for more than four years.

The vast majority (86%) of the respondents seem satisfied with their over-all shopping experience. Of the 86% sixty-five percent were very satisfied. Respondents also gave high marks to their pick-up experiences, using words like friendly, competent, organized, and great volunteers.

Happy Earth Day (20)

When asked their reasons for being a member of the coop, 135 responded. The word local was used 85 times, and both high quality and healthful were mentioned 50 times. Other multiple responses were good for the environment, less carbon foot print, know where my food comes from, like to support sustainable farming, and lots of support for local farmers.

Around half of our members first learned about the coop from personal contacts, i.e., friends, family, and IFC producers. Around one quarter found IFC on line, and the rest from other ways.

Happy Earth Day (19)

The vast majority of members (79% )spend less than 25% of their food dollars shopping with the IFC. Only 2% of members spend 75% or more of their food dollars with the IFC. There were 39 responses to what would increase spending with the coop. Fifteen mentioned more pickup frequency or convenience of location/time and fourteen mentioned more variety. Lower prices and quality were mentioned by a few.

The individual comments were varied, thoughtful, thought-provoking and very helpful to us as a board. We randomly picked one comment to share and it could have been a hundred or more. One person responded to her/his experience of picking up food at the Franklin site with…

“I love it! I noticed there are some staples on the shelves there. I never asked but assume these are for sale. I need to take time to look around more and see if there are last minute items I can add to my order.”

Just another reminder… this is a small part of a lot of data we learned from you, our valued customers. We will continue to process this information and use it to improve and expand IFC while keeping the quality of products and experience as high as possible.

Bees hit the road – story from Fieldstone Farm

Almond pollination

Fieldstone Farms, Clemons, IA (Eli Kalke & Dale Fields)

We were fascinated by bees, so we attended a beekeeping class at NIACC in Northern Iowa five years ago to learn more, whereupon we ordered 11 hives. Since then we’ve grown our operation to well over 100 hives.

Our apiary is located ½ mile east of Clemons. We sell an array of products using our own honey, such as raw unpasteurized honey, 12 varieties of creamed honey, cut comb, chunk honey, honey straws, beeswax candles, lip balm and lotions. We are also both active with the Iowa Honey Producers Association; Eli is the Vice President and Dale is on the Educational Committee.

When dropping off our products a few cycles ago, we got to talking with the volunteers about something that is a bit unusual about our apiary, which is that we send our bees out to California in the winter to help pollinate their almond crop. They suggested we write up something for IFC members.

Here’s how it works. After we harvested our honey crop last summer, we fed our bees with a sugary liquid feed and protein patty substitute to ensure they had sufficient nutrition and food stored in their hive in preparation for their journey to California for almond pollination. To help orientate the bees, we paint the boxes different colors; this helps them identify which one is “home”.

End of November our hives were loaded on a truck and later transferred to a semi, which had around 400 hives on it bound for California; roughly a four day drive. About 1.6 million colonies are needed for the almond population. 500,000 of these come from California and the rest (1.1 million) are trucked in from all across North America.

Their food supplies were checked mid-January and didn’t require feeding, as they still had an abundance of honey in the hive. Depending on the weather, almond blossom typically begins around Valentine’s Day and ends about a month later, which is when our bees go to work.

The hives will be brought back on a semi-truck the second half of March and will likely be in need of a lot of feeding, as they will have very little food reserves left in the hive. This will keep the bees alive and healthy prior to the arrival of spring flowers, like dandelions, which are very high in protein and essential for rearing their young

2011 State of the Coop

The 2011 Annual Meeting of the Iowa Food Cooperative was a success!

Thanks to all who took part in making it happen, and to producer member Lavon Griffieon of Griffieon Family Farms for hosting the  event.

Thank you also those who attended, for the wonderful food and for taking part in the panel discussion.

Per request here are the slide show and the audit presented at the meeting.

2011 General Manager’s Report

2011 Audit Report