Vesterheim’s Nordic cooking programs are supported in part by a generous gift to the Vesterheim Annual Fund from the Oneota Community Food Co-op.

Oneota Community Food Co-op is a 49-year-old cooperatively owned grocer located two blocks east of Vesterheim in beautiful downtown Decorah. Since 1974, the Co-op has been a community hub, visitor destination, and the Decorah-area community’s primary source for local, organic, bulk and fairly traded food and goods. Community education and support regarding healthy, responsibly sourced food is a directive of the Co-op’s Organizational Ends.

Oneota Co-op has a long history of offering community cooking classes, and a new Co-op Kitchen Classroom was added in 2014, further enhancing the educational mission. Due to the pandemic in March 2020, the Co-op closed its doors to food traffic and ceased all events, and the Co-op Kitchen became the staff break room to ensure proper social distancing.

The Co-op was no longer able to fulfill portions of its community directive, so when Vesterheim Director of Folk Art Education Andrew Ellingsen contacted Oneota Co-op regarding a possible partnership for its Nordic cooking program, the organization was happy to offer support. The two entities had already shared 45 years of visitors and shoppers, and together, they represent two significant “draws” to downtown Decorah.

Co-op General Manager Nate Furler said, “We are pleased to be able to support this program. We find the courses to be carefully designed, accessible, and focused on healthy, fresh, or traditional cuisine. We welcome the opportunity to continue our educational outreach while supporting a fellow community-builder.”

Vesterheim Director of Folk Art Education Andrew Ellingsen shared, “We are grateful to have support from Oneota Community Food Co-op! Using local and seasonal ingredients is a key aspect of New Nordic cooking. The Oneota Co-op’s long tradition of making healthy and fresh food accessible to local families is one we’re happy to continue to uplift in our food programming.”

Oneota Co-op is a mission-driven organization of over 5,000 member-owners throughout the Driftless Region. As a consumer cooperative, its goals originate from a commitment to the seven internationally recognized Principles of Cooperation. Oneota Co-op practices the Carver Model of Policy Governance; an appointed general manager is responsible for store operations; a democratically elected, seven-member board of directors represents the member-owners in ensuring appropriate organizational performance. The store is a supporter of numerous non-profits, with a specific focus on organizations such as Iowa Food Hub, Decorah Farmers Market, and area food pantries. Oneota Co-op works to foster connectedness and develop relationships among the region’s agricultural community. Learn more at

Vesterheim Director of Folk Art Education Andrew Ellingsen and Oneota Co-op General Manager Nate Furler.
Zach and David Heine enjoy an online Vesterheim cooking class.
Inside the Oneota Community Food Co-op in Decorah.