Well Fed Neighbor Market

The Well Fed Neighbor Alliance has opened a new store stocked year-round with locally grown, raised or produced groceries.

Ruell Chappell, a former Ozark Mountain Daredevil, is the driving force behind the newly opened Well Fed Neighbor Market Cooperative. All local all the time, all items in the store are produced in Missouri. In addition to selling produce, dairy, meats and other goods, the store has a media center to teach good growing practices as well as classes on cooking and canning.

“A friend of mine, a former monk, told me that God said to create a food supply here,” says Chappell. Chappell took his friend’s words to heart, investigated the food supply throughout 417-land, and was shocked. Chappell says that typical grocery stores work on an as-needed basis. “We have about a three-day supply of food that travels on an average 1,500 miles—usually from outside the U.S.,” he says. The co-founder of the 1,000 Gardens Project in Springfield (the model for Missouri’s 10,000 Gardens Project), Chappell feels that outsourcing our food (as well as goods) to foreign countries is at the core of our health and economic problems. His research found that from 1890–1917, Missouri farmers fed the whole state. He desires to combine that model with modern technology to create a food system value chain that benefits both farmers and consumers.

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 “Little producers can’t compete with our big-box store mentality of demanding lower prices,” he says. “We have cut off our economy by delegating food production to others. Food and fuel costs keep increasing, and sooner or later, we won’t be able to buy food.” The world’s food supply is decreasing, Chappell says, but Well Fed Neighbor Market helps secure a food source and builds our economy by selling only local foods and products.

Chappell’s goal is to create a demand for all things local. That allows for more competition in the marketplace, adds jobs to keep up with demand, raises food quality and keeps local dollars in our community. “I would like to see people demand locally grown foods in all of our grocery stores, schools, restaurants and hospitals” he says. Chappell admits that local food and products may be 10- to 15-percent above commodity prices at first, but he says they should become cheaper due to bigger supplies and the lack of added transportation costs. There is also an element of transparency in knowing where the food came from.

The 411
Well Fed Neighbor Market
Where: 1925 B E. Bennett St., Springfield
More Info: Search for Well Fed Neighbor Market on Facebook.

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