Fair State Cooperates: Open Arms of Minnesota

Long before Fair State Brewing Cooperative formed, our three founders were brewing beer. Yes, sometimes they brewed at other breweries. But most often, they brewed at home. Like many breweries around us, we come from humble homebrew beginnings.

Rewind to 1986. Bill Rowe starts cooking meals in his apartment and delivering them to a few men he knew who were too sick from AIDS to cook for themselves. Thirty years later, 6,000-some volunteers from across the state of Minnesota come and cook meals in a 21,000 square foot facility and deliver them to the people who need them most. Open Arms of Minnesota may have its roots in humble beginnings, but these days, the impact goes far beyond one man in his home kitchen.

 

 

Each week, Open Arms serves around 1,000 people with chronic illnesses (cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and ALS) by delivering meals to them throughout the week. Each client receives a week’s worth of meals at a time (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks), delivered by a volunteer. Operating on a “Food is Medicine” mentality, the chefs and dietitians at Open Arms work together to create tasty and nutritious meals.

In recent years, Open Arms started their own organic farming project, following sustainable permaculture practices. By involving themselves directly in urban farming projects,  they can use what they harvest in their own kitchen. Currently, Open Arms runs two farms in Minneapolis and two in Saint Paul.

To show our support for Open Arms of Minnesota, Fair State will be donating both time and a portion of our CROWLER sales throughout the month of March.

To volunteer, you can join us at our cooking event on March 6 or our bag decorating event on March 17. You can volunteer more frequently by volunteering to deliver meals, farm during planting season, work in the kitchen, or work in the Open Arms offices.

To stay up to date on all of our Cooperates Volunteer Opportunities here at Fair State, visit the Cooperates Page.

 

Photos courtesy of Open Arms of Minnesota.

Fair State Cooperates: Association for Black Economic Power

If you asked someone a few years ago what kinds of cooperatives they knew of, they probably wouldn’t say “brewery.” In fact, before 2014, there weren’t any cooperatively owned breweries in Minnesota. Yet here we are today. That’s because when we started the brewery, we wanted to provide a space for the community to get together, to share ideas and skills, and of course, to drink beer. We are made up of community members, for community members.

So in the spirit of shining a light on organizations with a similar focus on community gathering and change-making, we can look to our February Cooperates Partner– the Association for Black Economic Power.

In 2016, Twin Cities residents got together to form a community organization by the name of Blexit– in efforts to “cultivate the practice of economic civil resistance.” It was through these meetings that the members began to focus on black banking– this lead to the late 2016 launch of the Association for Black Economic Power.

So what are they doing? Well, by 2019 they hope to establish a state chartered black-led credit union: The Village Trust Financial Cooperative (VTFC).

The leaders of ABEP and VTFC chose the credit union model (rather than traditional banking) because it follows the “not for profit, not for charity, but for service” ideals. The overarching goal for VTFC is to serve the underserved within the Black community who have been previously excluded from traditional financial institutions.

 

The VTFC name itself was voted on by the North Minneapolis community through a 2017 campaign that ran from April to June.

Part of the establishment process involves collecting pledges from potential members. Through pledge collection on their website, ABEP is able to gather the information needed to make sure they are prioritizing the services that the community most values– and gather the proof needed to show they have significant community support and interest. Their current goal is to gain five thousand pledges from those who are interested in using the credit union once it is open.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about the organization and the credit union, you can come to the Taproom on February 22. ABEP will host a panel to discuss community buy-in, policy, as well as economic resistance– all within the context of the creation of the Village Trust Financial Cooperative. If you want to pledge to be a part of it all, you can do so online or at this event– pledging is open to all, regardless of race.

Plus, for every CROWLER you buy, 10% of sales will go right back to ABEP and their mission.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to support our neighbors on the Northside — join us!

 

Photos courtesy of www.abepmn.org 

Fair State Cooperates November: Free Arts Minnesota

Creativity plays a big part in beer. Without it, we probably wouldn’t be drinking kettle sours and it’s almost certain that our house lactobacillus strain used in the Roselle wouldn’t exist. No creativity means no great collaboration beers like Dr. Spaceman and Spirit Foul. And let’s face it, Pahlay’Ahlay sounds far better than Beer No. 465.

free arts mn volunteersNeedless to say, we at Fair State believe in creativity. So in the month of November, we partnered with an organization that cares deeply about creativity: Free Arts Minnesota.

Free Arts Minnesota is an organization that has been providing art mentorship to youth at residential treatment centers, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters and community centers in low-income neighborhoods since 1997.

Though the program was started over 30 years ago by an Art Therapist in Los Angeles, it was brought to Minnesota in 1997 as a project of the Junior League of Minneapolis. These days, Free Arts reaches over 2,000 youth at 25+ different partner sites in Minnesota. And in 2018, Free Arts will be partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters to expand their program, and Follow The Art.

Currently, Free Arts runs three main programs for the community youth to inspire creativity and artistic expression: a weekly mentorship program, CREATE Workshops, and Free Arts Days. The mentorship program adopts team style mentorship, which allows kids a more pressure-free and flexible environment with different mentors. Each week, there are over 40 groups that meet throughout the community.

The CREATE Workshops offer more time-flexible artistic opportunities to children through a semi-regular arts mentorship program. This program is especially helpful for families who are not in permanent housing and may not be able to commit to a weekly mentorship program. Lastly, Free Arts Days provide outside community organizations and businesses to work with kids as part of an Art Buddies program.

Members

Earlier this month, Fair State took a group of members, patrons and staff to People Serving People in Minneapolis to join Free Arts Minnesota in an afternoon of creation. As art buddies, each volunteer was paired with a child to work on a specific art project together, under a “game” theme. Volunteers and kids rotated to different stations creating puzzles, ring tosses, and chess games.

Since Free Arts Minnesota is a non-profit organization and entirely free for the kids to participate in, having both volunteers and enough funding is an essential part of making the mission possible. With that, we’d like to thank our Cooperators for joining us in volunteering and for helping support our community.

Want to help even more? All month long, we’re donating 10% of all CROWLER sales to Free Arts Minnesota. Bring a CROWLER home to help support them and let’s all get creative.

Donate Your Discount

In the last 18 months, our Fair State Cooperates program has successfully donated thousands of dollars to our nonprofit partners. As the brewery and our membership expands, so does our community-based initiative.

When we first launched FSC, $1 from every growler and $.50 from every 750ml purchase went to our partner of the month. This Spring we began the transition to CROWLERs, and with it, increased giving. Now, 10% of all CROWLER and growler sales go to our nonprofit partner.

Recently, we decided to change this yet again. The idea did not come from us, however. I was playing around with the new CROWLER 3 pack carriers, trying to design a 9 pack holder, and ultimately succeeding. A couple member-owners sitting at the bar could see the pride I had in my invention, and thus decided to give it a test by purchasing nine CROWLERs of IPA. For those of you that do not yet know, every time you purchase three CROWLERs in the taproom, there is a $2 price break. This couple just so happened to have a $6 break on their purchase. Instead of pocketing their discount, they asked if the savings could be passed on to the month’s Cooperates partner. Charlie and I looked at each other, and said “yes, we’ll figure something out.” Shortly thereafter, a few of us had a sit-down, and figured out how we can make such an occurrence a standard option.


Introducing Donate Your Discount!
Now, any time you have some sort of price break in your taproom purchase, you can elect to pay full price and pass the savings along to the month’s selected nonprofit partner. The most common ways this will be used is for $2 off CROWLER 3 packs, or $1 off pints during member happy hour. By default, we will always give you the discount. Only if you state “I would like to donate my discount” will we charge full price, and pass along your donation.

The Donate Your Discount program will operate in addition to the existing 10% of sales donations.

– Davin