I saw that Kitsap Food Co-op, group was hosting another public meeting about their efforts this Saturday (Feb. 21), and thought it would be a good time to catch up with how they’re doing.
The group has been working for more than a year to lay the groundwork for a community-supported and member-owned grocery store that would specialize in locally grown, natural and organic foods.
They’ve been fundraising and doing some basic market analysis since that time, and they are currently on the cusp of incorporating, said Laura Moynihan, one of the co-op organizers. Incorporation will allow them to start signing up members and collecting membership fees to help fund further progress.
They’ve decided memberships will be structured as an annual fee system — as opposed to a large, one-time fee — where members will get discounts and a profit refund, similar to the way REI sets up its member dividends.
The next step will be to do a feasibility study that will help them focus on where would be the smartest place to build, among other things.
“We’re still a ways off from having a physical building,” Moynihan said.
But it’s still a good time to try and start the co-op, despite the economic downturn, she said.
They may, for example, be able to take advantage of newly affordable real estate. And though the desire to save money may drive shoppers to discount grocers like Wal-Mart, having an organization that supports local foods in a down economy becomes additionally important, Moynihan said.
“When you shop at a food co-op, when you use local producers, farmers, craftspeople who shop local for feed and seed and other products,” she said. “That’s when the community really gets to hold on to its money” rather than having those dollars go to Arkansas or China.
Food Co-op members will talk more about the economy’s effect on the co-op at Saturday’s meeting.
The meeting will be from 3 to 5 p.m. at Seaside Church in Bremerton, near Evergreen Rotary Park. They’ll be talking about the economy as well as hold a silent auction for items, such as a quilt, free tree-trimming, haircut, yoga classes and other services.