Viroqua Food Co+op Blog

Co-cycle Visit at Viroqua Food Co-op Provides Cooperative Model Awareness, Ideas Exchange

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Aug 07, 2012 @ 03:12 PM

By Royce Gustafson

Photos by Patrick Kouba and Royce Gustafson

How do cooperatives make the World a better place? That question is the focus of Co-cycle 2012, a group of college students from Amherst, MA who are bringing awareness to “The International Year of Cooperatives” as declared by the United Nations. They decided the best way to raise awareness was a biking trip across America. Coming from the West by way of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, La Crosse, WI and then locally through Westby, the students visited in Viroqua on Aug. 4, 2012 for the Viroqua Food Co-op (VFC) sponsored “Co-cycle Rally”. 

People who came to VFC on Saturday might have heard of the event or, if not, stopped by the tents out of curiosity. Bjorn Bergman, who heads up the Food Co-op’s Promotion and Education efforts, said a conscious effort was made to schedule the event at one the busiest times of the week. General Manager Jan Rasikas and Bergman represented the Food Co-op while Patrick Kouba, VFC’s graphic assistant, took photographs.  

State Senator Jennifer Schilling of the 32nd District visited during the earlier portion of the event and media was also present. WKBT 8 La Crosse interviewed Megan Meo, one of Co-cycle’s founders, and the segment aired on Saturday evening (see WKBT website for broadcast). WDRT 91.9 “Driftless Radio” conducted an interview with Co-cyclists Riko Fluchel and Katrina Ceguera.

 While traditional and independent media interests captured the rally, Co-cycle has a documentary film crew of NYU students accompanying them on their trip. Emma Thatcher is directing the documentary “To The Moon” which chronicles Co-cycle’s journey. Engin Karabagli, the filmographer, was a constant presence throughout the location as he interviewed members from Driftless Region cooperatives who were at the tables.

The cooperatives represented were:


 The Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative donated 50 pounds of organic beef for the day. VFC Deli Manager Sean Kelley was present to put his culinary finesse to work at the grill. The burgers were a success: Kelley and others produced a continual stream of food for rally-goers. A portion of the burger sales was donated to Co-cycle, ultimately raising $284 for the cyclers as they continue their journey across the country. Even after the late morning sunshine had turned to clouds and then rain, the precipitation didn’t halt the event. Cyclists, cooperative members and other attendees pitched tent siding to protect the tables. The weather did provide a more reflective mood as the student cyclists summarized what they had learned thus far on their voyage. Several students mentioned the contrast between the open expanses of the American West and increase of communities East of the Mississippi. Some said were looking forward to reaching their ultimate goal – New York City – where they will bring what they’ve learned to a symposium on cooperatives.


After the rally ended Jan Rasikas took the cyclists on a tour of the Co-op. That evening a private dinner was held at the Rooted Spoon in Viroqua from 5 to 8 p.m. Representatives from various cooperatives gave presentations and Co-cycle members shared information about their tour.

To learn more about Co-cycle 2012 (and donate needed items for their trip) visit their website at You can also receive updates on Co-cycle’s progress by following them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Tags: Events

Biokleen’s Partnership with BEF Water Restoration Program

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Wed, Aug 01, 2012 @ 11:58 AM

For every purchase of any Biokleen 64-ounce laundry liquid during August, Biokleen will purchase one Water Restoration Certificate, which is the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of water and offsets 37 loads of laundry.

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Tags: Announcements