WATERVILLE — Barrels Community Market will kick off a 13-week membership drive. Those interested in learning more about cooperative membership are invited to come and meet other members, including the Board of Directors, from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 21, at the Market, 74 Main St.

Barrels, which opened in July 2009 as a nonprofit, is now a member-owned consumer cooperative, the first local foods cooperative market in the Waterville area. The Market specializes in local Maine foods and crafts, and has a cafe that serves hot meals, including weekend brunches, and prepared foods six days a week, using locally sourced foods, according to a news release from Barrels.

In addition to its in-store efforts, the Market also does catering and provides educational outreach to the community about how to cook with local products. In its six years as a grocery store, Barrels has formed partnerships with area organizations that are also working to revitalize the downtown and strengthen the greater Waterville community.

The membership drive’s goal of increased consumer membership will allow the Market to move closer to its goal of offering fresh, locally grown produce and food products year-round. In addition to strengthening its membership base, the Market is actively forming partnerships with area growers and producers who are interested in expanding their production capacities. A primary goal is to support the availability of winter greens and other products during the traditionally lean winter months.

“The food landscape has changed for the richer in recent years, with a new wave of committed farmers and producers,” states David Shipman, Chairman of Barrels’ Board of Directors. “Becoming a member of Barrels Cooperative Market and shopping every week is the best way to show support for what the new landscape brings us.

Membership in the Cooperative entails a one-time payment of $100. Members who join during the membership drive will receive a 10 percent discount on their first grocery order. There will be member appreciation giveaways throughout the 13-week drive, and all co-op members will be entered into a raffle, which will be held at the end of the drive.

In addition to enjoying the same warm and welcoming atmosphere at the wooden community-style dining tables as the general public does, member-owners will play a vital role in ensuring the continued viability of the Market and will be instrumental in creating a vital local food economy and an engaging downtown for visitors and year round residents.

Anyone interested in becoming a cooperative member can do so in person at the Market, or via the Market’s website,www.barrelsmarket.com. The “It’s Our Growing Season” membership drive will end Sept. 21. A celebration for all co-operative members will be held in the store at the end of the drive, date and time to be announced.

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