The People's Food Co-Op of La Crosse has been providing the community with locally grown food for years, but it also takes it a step further by showing people how to make it.
"The class that we are doing tonight, the pressure canning class, we are canning green beans," Linda Riddle, People's Food Co-Op Public and Member Relations Manager said. "They're organic, they're locally grown, and we know that everybody who is in class tonight is going to go home with some really good products, good food, and some very good knowledge."
The Co-Op offers a wide variety of classes, even for those that aren't interested in cooking. In the past they held gardening classes, soap-making sessions, wellness talks and much more. This differentiation allows for everyone in the community to learn more about a topic they are interested in.
In the particular class I attended, instructor Naomi Fruechte walked all participants through the in's and out's of canning, explaining everything from different methods to watching out for botulism.
Canning may be a process deemed tedious to some, but to others it is a labor of love that gives a chance to control exactly what you're eating.
"A lot of people like to do it as sort of a hobby in a way, and to say that they've done it themselves," Naomi Fruechte , canning class instructor said. "Another reason is people like to do it for fun, and say that they can."
Admittedly, I didn't know much about canning before I took the class, but I left armed with knowledge and two fresh jars of canned beans I made with the other participants. No matter the subject matter of the class though, the Co-Op's focus on working together to create something unique is an example of the it means to the La Crosse community.
"We're owned by the members, we have a deep commitment to the community, we always have, we really support the local economies, the local farmers. When it comes right down to it, I think building community is what to Co-Op is all about," added Riddle.
For another adventure, make sure to check back next Wednesday for a new episode of Hometown Tourist, and a chance to make the La Crosse area your own.