Buying into Organic

Chippewa group has been doing it since before it was cool

Lindsey Quinnies

The notion of organic food stores and local food co-ops in 1980 was certainly an innovative one, which is exactly why Chippewa Falls residents Barb Harling and Kathy Mandelert founded CHIPS, the Chippewa Falls Organic Food Buying Club. Together they created a club that allows high-quality organic food (dairy, frozen products, baby food, perishables, and dry ingredients), supplements, beverages, and health/beauty products to be delivered directly to their distribution site either in individual or bulk. CHIPS always offers the best to its affiliates, utilizing the supplier UNFI (United Natural Foods, Inc.), which is the leading independent national distributor of organic foods and products in America. The club operates simply to cater to its members – all ordering is done online, on UNFI’s password-protected website, and pickup is done at the distribution site on scheduled dates. Sound like something you might be interested in getting involved in? Easy. There’s no joining fee; all you have to do is show up on a listed meeting date or contact one of the club officers. The only commitment required for joining is the promise of one hour of work at the VFW per year and a 3% markup on orders to assist with club expenses such as location rental. After about 30 years, the club is still thriving with loyal members and orders placed consistently.

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