“I LOVE the recipes!”

That’s what I hear from members every time the conversation turns to our statewide magazine, Michigan Country Lines. Sound familiar? Then I’ve got a project idea for you – evolve your magazine’s print recipes into an interactive digital cooking community.

We launched MI Co-op Kitchen, an interactive digital cooking community for Michigan co-op members, in May 2016. Aimed at creating community and engaging younger members, the site offers innovative ways to interact with cooking based on millennial cooking trends.

Did you know 59% of 25- to 34-year-olds cook with either their smartphones or tablets handy? And that “How to Cook that” is one of the ten most popular how-to searches on YouTube?

So what makes a digital cooking community better than just simply printing or posting a recipe online? I’m glad you asked.

Features & Benefits of MI Co-op Kitchen

  • Makes the most of video
    “How to” videos of contest-winning dishes are created by our food editor and posted to MI Co-op Kitchen through YouTube. Additionally, members have the option to include a link to a recipe video they created along with their recipe submission.

  • Community building
    Every registered member has their own profile which displays all of the recipes they’ve submitted. Members have the opportunity to rate and comment on each other’s recipes (and when they do the cook receives a copy via email). All registered users receive a monthly newsletter with recipes, stories, and upcoming contest deadlines.
  • Branding
    Cooperative branding is reinforced because the default avatar for each member is the logo of their co-op. The digital community also ties in with the recipe section of our statewide magazine, Michigan Country Lines.
  • Storytelling
    A Guest Chef category takes a human interest angle to cooking and puts a focus on interesting people and their stories, as well as their favorite dishes.
  • Perfect for Pintrest
    An accompanying Pinterest page seeks to make content more shareable and reach a wider, more social media savvy audience.

We’re pretty pumped about the response we’ve received so far. In three months, 1,100 members have visited the site, 110 created a profile and 37 recipes have been submitted.

Ready for an interactive digital cooking community at your co-op?

The good news is that building a digital cooking community is not rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg. MI Co-op Kitchen was built on the Talisa WordPress template, which cost just $44. Don’t let unfamiliarity with WordPress stop you, it’s quite intuitive. Go for it! And if you have any questions along the way, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be more than happy to help.