What to know about Wheatsfield



Matilda Kuenster

A great way to encourage a healthy, inexpensive lifestyle, is to join a co-op.

It is the mission of Wheatsfield to offer food, services and education to support the health of the environment and community. Co-op members (also referred to as owners or member-owners) work toward a common goal while sharing in the profits and benefits of the business.

Signing up to join Wheatsfield is relatively simple. Potential members just need to fill out the online application and make a one-time payment of $100. Members are also offered the option of paying the $100 fee in 10 installment payments.

When joining the co-op, new members are essentially buying stake in the company and joining a community.

At Wheatsfield there are over 115 local producers that are selling their fruits and vegetables, grocery, dairy, meat, cheese, beer and wine, and wellness products. In this case, local is defined by Wheatsfield as grown and produced in Iowa.

From July 2016 to June 2017, 24 percent of Wheatfields sales were from local producers.

“The Nickel Program raises funds through two channels, donations, such as your five cents that is taken off for using reusable bags, as well as a percentage of the sales made during Give Back Thursday,” said Susan Jasper, the outreach coordinator at Wheatsfield.

“The organizations are chosen based on what groups have applied, how big of impact the funds will have (number of people, size of organization, etc), will the funds stay locally, how will the funds be used, etc,” said Kim Corbin, Wheatfields marketing manager.

“We aim to keep the organizations within the central Iowa area, but have broken this rule a few times for Hurricane Harvey and a fellow co-op that burned down and needed help rebuilding,” Corbin said.

A portion of the profits from Give Back Thursday goes toward the Nickle Program. The recipient of this program is chosen by the marketing team at the end of each month. Recent recipients include the Free Dental Clinic and Plant-A-Row, both which are part of the Ames community.

These programs are just a few of the ways Wheatsfield is giving back to the Ames community.

Additionally, Wheatsfield offers classes ranging from lectures, to hands on courses where members are making their own bread. Some of the events being hosted in the community room are Vegan Holiday Sides, Gluten Free Desserts and The Fermented Kitchen Series. Class prices range from free to around $20 depending on the class.

“The Fermented Kitchen is a series of courses that is having its fourth class November 28th. Sara Reece is has already done classes over kombucha, kefir and fermented vegetables,” said Susan Jasper.

The community room at Wheatsfield, where classes are held, is rentable to members and non-members for use.