Lifestyle

Kitsap Food Co-op offers customers first chance to buy in

The Kitsap Community Food Co-op, a group of volunteers hoping to bring a full-service, locally owned grocery store to the area, will be offering potential members their first chance to buy into the venture at its next meeting Sept. 14.

Jennifer Green-Mitchell, a member of the group’s board, said the ultimate goal of the co-op — which formed in January of 2008 — is to operate a grocery store that will “strongly support the local economy by purchasing as much as possible from local farmers and producers of crafts and ... jams and soups.”

Once the store is up and running, Green-Mitchell said interested shoppers do not have to become members, but if they do, they will “enjoy (benefits such as) profit sharing, store discounts, and a chance to participate in many of the decisions and direction(s) the store takes.”

As examples of successful and recognizable co-ops, Green-Mitchell offered “Ocean Spray, an agricultural cooperative; Ace Hardware, a retailer-owned cooperative; REI, a consumer cooperative; and here locally, the Kitsap Community Federal Credit Union, a not-for-profit financial cooperative.”

The Kitsap Community Food Co-op’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 14, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Seaside Church in Bremerton.

Green-Mitchell said the group originally wanted and tried to hold the meeting in Port Orchard, but scheduling conflicts at local meeting places prevented that.

Last month, the co-op held a fundraiser in cooperation with the Historic Orchard Theater on Bay Street, which gave the group a certain amount of its ticket sales for the documentary “Food, Inc.”

“We netted about $400,” Green-Mitchell said, adding that theater operators told her they had “unprecedented attendance for a documentary.”

After the group formed and held their first meeting, Green-Mitchell said approximately 150 community members attended, “which encouraged the founding team to continue forward.”

She quoted board president Laura Moynihan as saying: “Many people in the community are anxious for us to have opened yesterday. As a responsible board, however, we have learned how critical it is that we adopt good business practices which includes research, planning, gathering capital, building awareness and setting policies.”

For those who are interested in membership but are unable to attend the meeting, an application may be downloaded at www.kitsapfoodcoop.org/Membership after Sept. 14.

More information on the Kitsap Community Food Co-op may be found at the website, or by contacting Moynihan at (360) 813-1301, or via email at: info@kitsapfoodcoop.org.

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