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By B.T. Kang, A.N. Atta-Krah, L. Reynolds

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Included in the membership was a labor requirement: each member was to work at least  hours per year. In the first thirty months, members averaged closer to  hours of work per year. “The feasibility plan (written by abc Consulting of Iowa) showed all the potential markets and different avenues of how to market the product,” said former cooperative president Deb Heidzig. ” A Nebraska Department of Agriculture grant of $, paid for the feasibility study, along with an additional $, matching grant from the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center.

The marketplace offers a farmers’ market consisting of local art, crafts, baked goods, garden produce, meat, and items related to St. James history. Market members take turns working at the marketplace, with their labor going toward their vending fees. In the future the market will host speakers, quilt shows, and play performances in the old chapel area. Located just a half mile north of Highway  and the Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway and near the Shannon Trail, St. James Marketplace works with tourism promotion groups to capitalize on travelers visiting Lewis and Clark sites.

We like our customers. They’re like friends,” he observed. “It’s great to see other people have the same [good foods] that we’ve always had,” said North Star Neighbors member Shirley Johnson. ” While cooperative members do not want the business to get too large, Ron Knopik said that he would like to help start a restaurant in Omaha featuring North Star Neighbors’ products. One concern for North Star members is the long-term availability of a processor. “The availability of processing is a critical problem we foresee in the future,” Ron Knopik explained.

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