Co-ops Create More Choices
By Marcus Collier
My family joined the Kitsap Community Food Co-op in 2011 with a belief that for our community and our family to be more self-sustaining and to remain vibrant, we must work outside the monolithic, establishment-type food culture. The effort to establish a new tradition, to have a community-owned, community-led and community-supporting choice for grocery and nutritional needs, is one of the most important, yet under-recognized, projects currently being undertaken in Kitsap County.
The Co-op has the ability to free us from dependence on the unsustainable practice of long haul food transportation, with its potential interruptions and challenges to regional agriculture.
While our seasonal farmers’ markets are fantastic, our Co-op will increase local food production by providing an outlet to sell their products year-round, and also give more food options to people whose schedules don’t allow them to visit the farmers’ markets regularly.
The Co-op will encourage member-owners and customers to be more connected with local growers, processors, and vendors, the sources of their food. Even as our world boasts of ever-expanding “connectedness,”I believe that as a society, we are becoming evermore disconnected from the people and local institutions around us. To thrive as a community, I feel it is important to regain this local connectedness.
There will be great opportunities for member-owners and customers alike to become further educated about nutritional options that corporate governance of the food supply tends to obscure.
The Co-op’s member-owners have a say in its policies and procedures, rather than being presented with decisions made in some shiny tower in a far-away city-decisions that could have far-reaching effects, and, in many cases, not so favorable results on local communities.
The Co-op will provide people with a great alternative to the corporate choices that currently exist by helping increase the ability of small, local “cottage-type“industries, that employ the talents and skills of community members, to market locally-produced goods and services.
For all these reasons and more, the Kitsap Community Co-op is a smart investments for Kitsap County families. Your involvement helps create a sustainable resource for local-ownership, meaningful connections and lasting results, to free us from the ever-expanding corporatization and disconnected nature of the food system that has invaded our grocery store shelves.
As a member-owner you ARE the co-op. The growth and success of the co-op is dependent on the growth in membership, increased volunteerism and the engagement of member-owners for this common cause. By working within our peer groups, as well as within each individual’s social network, we can build this movement into a vibrant opportunity to create a stronger local economy where people are more important than profit.