To Edie Stodola, it wasn’t organic food — it was just food.
It grew on the farm where she was raised and in the gardens she tended as an adult. It filled the jars and cans that stocked her root cellar and kept her family fed through the winter. It was the chickens and rabbits she called by name, and the fish she caught and cleaned herself.
In time, it was what drew customers to the Minnetonka Buying Club, a woman-run co-op that expanded from a front porch to a basement to a little red shack behind the local Presbyterian church, eventually becoming Lakewinds Food Co-op.
“They grew and ate everything off the land,” said Terry Berens, the daughter of Stodola’s best friend. “I just think it was her way of life when she grew up that they lived off the land and that’s how it should be.”
Stodola, who is remembered for her lifelong love of nature and commitment to good food, died May 8 of COVID-19. She was 103.
Edith ‘Edie’ Stodola was born December 8, 1916 and grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. She dropped out of school around the 8th grade.
When she was a teenager, her father brought her to live in Hopkins because he wanted her to experience living in the city, Berens said. She lived in a boardinghouse and worked as a nanny. There, she met Ruby Boyd, Berens’ mother. The two became friends, and Boyd introduced her to Raymond Stodola.
“She knew that he was the one that Edith should marry,” said Winnie Ravenholdt Berens’ sister.
Edie and Ray lived and worked on a farm in Eden Prairie for about 35 years, said son, Gordon Stodola.
After a heart attack left Ray unable to keep up the farm, they relocated to a smaller piece of land nearby. Edie kept gardening, and would set up a sign on the side of the road and sell the vegetables she grew.
“She and Ray were the first organic gardeners that I knew of,” Ravenholdt said. “They would have this huge garden and share with everybody.”
In 1972, Edie joined forces with two other women — Edie Green and Helen Davis — and started the Minnetonka Buying Club on Green’s front porch. The co-op officially launched in 1975, and Stodola attended its 40-year anniversary celebration at age 99.
Stodola spent her final years in nursing homes, her eyesight and hearing failing but her mind still sharp. She died at Hopkins Care Center.
She is survived by son, Gordon, of Eden Prairie, daughter-in-law, Karen; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Services will be held at a later date.