Tacoma Urbanist

Feb. 13, 2010 at 12:47am

Improve your Life, Save Your Health and Join The Tacoma Food Co-Op Today


The Problem:


Tacomans needs to eat better.  They really do. 

Join the Tacoma Food Co-op today and support Tacomans getting healthy.



Watch this informative video from the smart people at TED, get inspired and then join the co-op.



 

comments [40]  |  posted under Tacoma

Comments

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 2/13/2010 @ 9:55am
I know Rome wasn't built in a day, but a co-op isn't Rome. Time to see a store open somewhere and enough with the talking about this.

by dolly varden on 2/13/2010 @ 1:17pm
The more people join, the sooner they'll be able to open -- they have a goal of opening this year, which is much more specific than they'd been willing to be until now. It's good to see them setting real goals -- I was worried until recently that my membership dues may have been paid in vain. Does anybody know if they're still planning to take over at least a part of the Neighborhood Market on 6th?

by jenyum on 2/13/2010 @ 1:55pm
Does anybody know if they're still planning to take over at least a part of the Neighborhood Market on 6th?


Dunno, but it sure would be nice if someone gave that place a little love. I though the new owners might mean some improvement but I went to buy corn tortillas there the other day and all of theirs had expired in December 09. Ended up purchasing hard taco shells, brought them home and realized they had also expired in 09.


by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 2/13/2010 @ 2:44pm
Olympia has 2 running co-ops, been in business since the 70's and they are about to open their 3d store. This is not rocket science. The co-op business has been pretty good, even during this recession the co-ops are holding their own quite nicely. If a bunch of hippies in Olympia can pull this off I see no reason for the foot dragging here.

by dolly varden on 2/13/2010 @ 3:00pm
Tacoma needs more hippies.

by Erik on 2/13/2010 @ 3:03pm
Time to see a store open somewhere and enough with the talking about this.

I agree. In addition, I pledge to buy a bag of organic brown rice when they open and a slew of spouts.

Tacoma needs more hippies.

We do. Tacoma's Hipsters have reigned supreme in Tacoma for too long, They need some competition.

by Erik on 2/13/2010 @ 3:05pm
Olympia has 2 running co-ops, been in business since the 70's and they are about to open their 3d store.

Yes, and Bellingham, city of $80,000 and has a huge co-op.



communityfood.coop/

by dolly varden on 2/13/2010 @ 3:12pm
We need more hipsters too -- hippies and hipsters live in peace when they're shopping for organic arugula and Field Roast.

by NineInchNachos on 2/13/2010 @ 5:04pm
We'll join when an actual store opens!

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 2/13/2010 @ 10:54pm
I bet a lot of people will join if they actually open up a store. These co-op people are starting to remind me of the car museum people. A lot of talk going on but I'm not seeing any organic food or fancy cars on display yet.

by amsierra on 2/14/2010 @ 2:16am
Thanks for your support!

by amsierra on 2/14/2010 @ 2:17am
@NineInchNachos: The TFC needs your support NOW in order to be able to open a store. The membership fee is a one time contribution. In other words, it's good for life. But we need a critical mass in order to proceed. Come on! Join! We're a lot of fun and we eat good too. Namaste, Ana

by jenyum on 2/14/2010 @ 10:41am
amsierra: do you think you could list the full amount for membership on your website? Currently it just tells you the installment amount.

Also, I notice your number 1 goal fro 2010 is to open a store. Maybe we could get some kind of update on how close the co-op is to meeting that goal, and what steps need to be taken in order to get there? I know that those of you who have been involved already know this, but it would probably help recruit prospective members if we could get a sense of what progress has been achieved, what avenues have been explored, and what the co-op needs in order to move from planning to reality.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 2/14/2010 @ 11:22am
Until there is a store open it is only a bunch of people talking and collecting money. I guess some people like joining talkers and collectors of money but I suspect most would like joining a co-op where there is a retail facility with stocked shelves. Will we be having this very same conversation 5 years from now? If you haven't noticed there are many retail spaces available all over Tacoma, many can be had for very favorable rates.

by fredo on 2/14/2010 @ 12:00pm
Wow Crenshaw, you posted the same comment on this thread three times in two days. You'rve even more predictable than me. :)

by jenyum on 2/14/2010 @ 12:01pm
Crenshaw: I know I do feel that way, too. But to be constructive about it, more people might be willing to help if we felt like there were any progress being made.

How much is a membership?
How much have you raised through benefits/membership drives, etc?
How many more members do you need to sign up/how much more money do you have to raise in order to open a store this year?
Which neighborhoods/spaces have you looked at and what is the approximate rent?
What other costs do you need to cover? (Refrigeration equipment, etc) And which of these items do you already have?
If you need volunteers/board members, what skills are you looking for?

I looked at the last board meeting minutes and wasn't really able to glean anything concrete even from those. Think of it like an annual report or stock prospectus, you're asking people to invest in something tangible, so they need to know these things.

I also notice you don't have a formal office or address yet. I would fix that immediately. Surely enough funds have been raised at this point to rent a PO Box and list the address on your website, or rent a small shared office somewhere.

by NineInchNachos on 2/14/2010 @ 1:03pm
I'm not joining till there is a store. Otherwise I may as well be throwing my money at the kalakala

by wildcelticrose on 2/14/2010 @ 1:32pm
I went to one meeting last year.

At that meeting I did not have any confidence that the people who were in charge at the time had the business savvy or other skills in which to actually get this off the ground.

I also got the impression that there had been virtually no forward movement in over two years.

It did not instill confidence.

My suggestion (which has fallen on deaf ears) would be to start small, as a buying group with some staples and local produce in season.

Giving someone some organic whole wheat flower and a crunchy apple gives them something tangible and makes them think, "Yes, this co-op" will happen.

I feel that trying to jump right into a full service store is at best, misguided in this economy.

I would LOVE to see a food co-op in Tacoma.

Oh, and I happen to work for a rather large co-op that started as a buying group with one item, so I know it can be done.

I can only hope that the Tacoma food co-op will find the people that can make it happen here.

by dolly varden on 2/14/2010 @ 1:47pm
I think Jenyum's questions are very constructive, and that the TFC should follow her advice -- transparency breeds trust. And I'm glad it looks like TFC people are reading this thread.

by greenfringegarden on 2/14/2010 @ 2:07pm
As I recall as a PCC member of nearly 30 years, they started with a plan that was really bare bones and not fancy but provided bulk food at a fair price. It grew from there. They could offer entry level memberships and then go from there as it grows. It was pretty basic (and great)...the coop in Yelm runs on volunteer labor and it is small. Perhaps the key is to solicit memberships and people who can volunteer 4 hours a week to get it off the ground.

by jenyum on 2/14/2010 @ 3:00pm
I would definitely join a limited co-op like that if it meant I could get better prices on gluten free bulk goods. No storefront required.

by Voronoff on 2/14/2010 @ 3:19pm
it is so Tacoma-style to talk about something and wait and see, and, upon waiting and seeing nothing impressive, reducing expectations to zero is a great way not to be impressed or disappointed!

by Altered Chords on 2/14/2010 @ 3:41pm
Altered Chords is opening a co-op. Send me $300.00 and you'll be a member for life.

THe first 10 members get a bag of organic brown rice that expired in June of 1960.

by jenyum on 2/14/2010 @ 3:41pm
it is so Tacoma-style to talk about something and wait and see, and, upon waiting and seeing nothing impressive, reducing expectations to zero is a great way not to be impressed or disappointed!


....but isn't your comment also some of that same attitude? Seemed like we were having a constructive conversation, for a minute there.

by dolly varden on 2/14/2010 @ 3:46pm
Agreed jenyum. I glad to be a member of the TFC in spite of some (acknowledged) missteps so far. I can always ask for -- and get -- my $ back if I'm not happy. If they don't open or take really significant steps that direction this year, that's what I'll do.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 2/14/2010 @ 5:14pm
I kind of like NIN's thinking, how about a food co-op in the Kalakala?

by Libby on 2/14/2010 @ 6:54pm
I'm on the new Board of Directors for the Tacoma Food Co-op. The Board was voted in in late 2009, and just became active in 2010. I know there are a lot of questions about the TFC, and I hope that our new, revamped website will help keep the community informed about out activities and progress (www.tacomafoodcoop.com). Membership is a one time $100 fee, which you can mail in to us --- or you can wait until we have Paypal up on the site and you can purchase that way. At this point in time, we are planning to utilize a portion of the Neighborhood Market on 6th Ave. We will start out by stocking a few aisles in the store --- likely this Summer or Fall. We are in the process of finalizing our Letter of Intent with the owner of the Neighborhood Market, and once that is complete it will be posted on our website. The first draft was recently completed. I really encourage anyone (members and non-members alike) to come to our Food on Film events at UPS --- this will give you an opportunity you meet and talk with Board members in person. The film events are free --- the next will be a screening of Michael Pollan's documentary "FRESH" in March. Check the events calendar for updates on dates and times. Of course, our blog updates will roll over here to feedtacoma.com, so you can keep an eye out here as well!

All the Best,

Libby

by Erik on 2/14/2010 @ 7:07pm
At this point in time, we are planning to utilize a portion of the Neighborhood Market on 6th Ave. We will start out by stocking a few aisles in the store --- likely this Summer or Fall.

Thanks for the update Libby!

Everyone is looking forward to the opening.

You might want to also come before the NENC and give a presentation before the Food Co-op opens as well.

www.nenc.org/

by jenyum on 2/14/2010 @ 7:58pm
At this point in time, we are planning to utilize a portion of the Neighborhood Market on 6th Ave. We will start out by stocking a few aisles in the store --- likely this Summer or Fall. We are in the process of finalizing our Letter of Intent with the owner of the Neighborhood Market, and once that is complete it will be posted on our website.


This is really wonderful news. I live in the neighborhood, and the market really needs a little love. I'd be excited to be able to find some gluten free items there.

by dolly varden on 2/14/2010 @ 8:07pm
Awesome news!

by CLoveR on 2/15/2010 @ 3:13am
I think that the Food Co-op could start big! I want to know why it hasn't gotten a business loan?

Skip the Neighborhood Market, it will only keep you from moving towards a location that is more appropriate for the co-op. I thought you weren't into catering to the 6th Ave/North End. There are locations all over Tacoma, make an arrangement with a property owner to have low/no rent at first, scaling up as the co-op becomes established, they'll be happy to have a business in their location and not be empty.

Anyone ask the city what programs are available to new businesses? Does a co-op get any tax breaks? Has anyone checked to see if such a business gets any cool perks via the stimulus package?

I saw your list of goals for the year: "business plan" - 3 1/2 years and you guys don't have a business plan?

I understand you guys just got a new board, but how many of you were on the last board? (Not too impressed with the Annual event in Aug!)

If the Neighborhood Market plan isn't going to end up being a mistake, you guys need to act faster, be open by 6/1/2010, and then start immediately working on the "big" goal of a co-op location in a neighborhood that actually needs it!

by jenyum on 2/15/2010 @ 9:18am
then start immediately working on the "big" goal of a co-op location in a neighborhood that actually needs it!


There's no other market that's really a reasonable walk in this neighborhood, not until you get all the way to Proctor. Don't forget, housing prices drop about 100k as soon as you cross 6th ave, and hilltop is just down the street. 6th Ave is served by Bus Route #1, one of the busiest routes in the city, and UPS is just a quick walk from the neighborhood market. Seems like a great location, to me.

by ixia on 2/15/2010 @ 9:24am
Good time for CLoverR to get aboard and immediatly start volunteering for the coop.

by Erik on 2/15/2010 @ 9:48am
I think that the Food Co-op could start big! I want to know why it hasn't gotten a business loan?

Hmmm. They could start a Feed Tacoma blog for free. I wonder if any of their board members know Kevin.

by jenyum on 2/15/2010 @ 10:32am
I believe their blog is already hooked up to the feed.

by Libby on 2/15/2010 @ 1:14pm
Good points by many of you --- I totally understand the frustration associated with this lengthy project, as do many (if not all) of the current board members.

CLover: one of the things that led me to run for the board in the first place was my experience at the annual event last summer --- it was not impressive, and it absolutely SHOULD be an impressive, engaging, and inspiring community event. We hope to change that this year. There was previously no board for the TFC... a steering committee existed prior to the board election... some of the board members were on the steering committee and some were not. We have a much more active meeting schedule and calendar this year, which I hope will reinvigorate the project.

As for the Neighborhood Market decision --- this was a choice that was made by the TFC members last Fall. There was a vote in which members were presented options for how to proceed in 2010. These choices included:

-Pursuing our very own storefront

-Initiating a buying club immediately

-Working with the Neighborhood Market to establish a presence

The member-owners decided that the Neighborhood Market option was the way they wanted to proceed. As we work towards that, we are looking at hiring a manager for that portion of the store, recruiting local producers to stock our shelves and making sure everything happens in a legal, transparent way. This will take time, and while I hope we can have everything running by June, we've got to make sure we are going by the book. We may have to work a little longer to get all of our ducks in a row.

Best,

Libby

by CLoveR on 2/15/2010 @ 2:40pm
ixia: I am a volunteer and a member. The committees were allowed to disintegrate and no one has reached out to those that were involved. I responded to a call for volunteers and got no response. I have a list of 6+ people that want to know what they can do to help.

I still want to be involved, I'm just not as excited as I was.

Jenyum: I'm not saying that the Neighborhood Market is a bad location, it's just exactly where the steering committee said they weren't looking to locate and as someone who hasn't lived in the North End, but has lived in Tacoma my entire life, I was happy to hear it! Those who live in that area are those who would believe in the Co-op mission and would go anywhere to shop there.

by Libby on 2/15/2010 @ 2:53pm
CLoveR: Please send me an email with your volunteer list! I have some tabling opportunities coming up in April (around Earth Day), and I'd love the help! My email is libby@tacomafoodcoop.com. Let's see what we can accomplish together!

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 2/15/2010 @ 8:49pm
Libby says it is going to take some time to get the ducks in a row, looks to me we can count on a poultry section.

by Libby on 2/15/2010 @ 9:41pm
Muah ha ha ha! :)

But seriously... poultry is probably one of the most troubling commodity 'meats' --- I know I want to make it a priority. I just can't bring myself to purchase poultry in most grocery stores anymore.