Cooperators and friends! It’s so great to be writing again as the President of the Kitsap Community Food Co-op. I’m grateful to have been chosen to fill these shoes once again and I am looking forward to reaping all we’ve sown over the last years together.
Many of you joined us for our annual meeting – I believe it was our best attended one yet! We shared delicious food, had a dynamic Q&A session with members and the board, and heard thorough presentations of what we accomplished in 2012 and what is coming up for us this year.
The first few months of every calendar year are generally busy with planning, assessment, and elections. In about February we’re looking outward again to the events we have coming up, populating our committees and generating strategies to bring in more member-owners as quickly as possible so that we can open our grocery store.
Members are most interested in what we need to accomplish on our timeline. Right now we need to identify a positive site and do the feasibility work on it. You’ve heard us mention our feasibility study – this was a market study we paid for to help us identify the strongest areas of Kitsap where a co-op would thrive. Once a site is identified, we have to explore the financial feasibility as well, and look at the building from a design feasibility standpoint. These things also take money! Once we have narrowed down a site we then move into the business plan and creating the financial documents the banks will require in order to consider lending us money.
As we are working toward this, it’s up to YOU to make sure that we have the equity (member-owners) we need to show the banks we have the community support we need to open our doors and sustain in a profitable way. The board literally can’t do this part. It’s the responsibility of all of the member-owners to see us be successful at this end! That means YOU! Member-equity also pays for the studies and consultants we need in order to prepare for approaching banks- so while the board might set an ambitious timeline to get these items checked off our list, we are literally moving at the speed at which we are gaining equity.
So join the co-op if you haven’t already! If you’re already a member-owner, make sure you’re making your payments on time and staying active, support our fundraisers and think creatively about how you can talk to people about the food co-op. Some angles might include:
* Local economy, creating sustainable jobs
* Economic and food justice- giving people access to safe, healthy food
* Circulating money within the economy
* Health & Wellness
* Education opportunities
Talk to your college classmates, or your club. Talk with the mamas you stand around with while you wait for your kids to get out of school. Wear your co-op t-shirt to the grocery store! Stand with Kevin Koski on the street corner for a couple of hours holding a co-op sign and handing out fliers, or staff a booth. YOU are the lifeblood of this effort, and we can’t do it without you.
See you in the sun!