"Greetings, Food Freaks"


“Greeting to Food Freaks of Amerika from the funny-looking, counter-culture, over emotional, righteous, right-on, anti-intellectual, Maoist oriented food dealers of the North Country. - Dean Zimmerman, “Food Conspiracy in the North Country,” Changes, July-August 1972

Yep, that's the earliest piece of writing that we have found in the Minnesota Historical Society from the always-quotable Dean Zimmerman, the first person we interviewed for our doc Radical Roots: Revolutions of the Twin Cities Food Co-ops. He was writing in an anti-war magazine, giving advice to others in the nascent food movement in its earliest days:

This letter is in response to requests from people all over the country (country in this context means Amerika not to be confused with a similar word which means: a place where trees, grass and wild animals are more commonly seen than are cars, buildings, and pavement) who have been asking 'What the hell are youse guys doing up there in Minneapolis?' When this author was given the impossible task of responding to such a simple-minded question, the first draft of the response was, 'Getting food to folks, stayin stoned and diggin in.'

Despite this flippant opening, Dean does go on to describe the founding of North Country Co-op and the other earliest co-ops as well as the People's Warehouse, also giving a brief description of how things are run. It's a fascinating look at the co-ops in their embryonic phase, when their goals where both more modest ("Gettin food to folks, stayin stoned and diggin in") and more ambitious (being part of a revolution that was both personal and political) than they are today.

Keep coming back for more gems like this, and, if you're in the Twin Cities, come on down to the Trylon on Thursday night to see our treaser trailer as well as Shift Change.