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Kitsap Food Co-op Hosts Public Meeting

February 18th, 2009 by adice

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.

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3 Responses to “Kitsap Food Co-op Hosts Public Meeting”

  1. Jake Metcalf Says:

    I would love to shop there if they get it off the ground.

  2. Laura Moynihan Says:

    Hi Jake,

    Glad to hear of your support. I hope this means you’ll be willing to sign up for our mailing list at http://www.kitsapfoodcoop.org, and be ready to sign up as paid members when we approach you this year! That’s the kind of support we’ll need to get this off the ground — a lot of people who believe in this enough to become the first member/owners, long before the doors are even opened.

    Cheers,
    Laura

  3. Jenn Green Says:

    I did attend the meeting and was impressed by the commitment of the organizers. What I took from attending the meeting,(besides the opportunity to bid on some really great silent auction items) was that a successful co-op requires a supportive community – especially in the start up stages. So…as to when an actually store is open is really up to us to lend time and talents.

    I think it is really cool that by buying a ‘membership’ I am an investor in a local business where I have a say. This investment may actually be refundable, should I even decide to move out of the community or cancel my membership for any reason -unlike my Costco membership which goes to its stockholders (and not back to me).

    All these folks are volunteering their time and could use more hands to help. One can do so by contacting organizers through the Kitsap Food Co-op website at http://www.kitsapfoodcoop.org. Thanks for doing this article and keeping the community up to date on their progress!

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The Food Life covers people, place and events involved in the food community on the Kitsap Peninsula and surrounding areas.
Written by Angela Dice. You can contact me at angela [at] angeladice.com.

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