Working Together for a Better Life Through Healthy Food
Cultivate Community Food Co-Op (CCFC) will be Solano County’s first community-owned, locally sourced and organic grocery store.
According to Paula Schnese, founder and board president, “We will be a one-stop, brick and mortar grocer dedicated to providing high-quality, locally-sourced, culturally-relevant, ethically-produced, and affordable products, as our mission states. We are committed to creating and maintaining a more sustainable economy with a just and equitable future for our farmers, artisans, and customers by decreasing the physical and social distance between producers and consumers.”
Paula started formulating her plan for a local food co-op in 2015. She’s done massive amounts of research, attended workshops and seminars, and has compiled initial marketing projections. She moved from Richmond to Benicia about five years ago, but she has been grocery shopping in Berkeley for 25 years because that’s the closest place to buy fresh, clean, locally produced foods.
“We want to provide a place in the community that’s close by, so shoppers can avoid trips out of the area and across the bridge,” Kim Barragan, secretary of the board, explains. Easy access is the key.
On the outside, a food co-op looks like any other grocery store, but with a unique outlook: a co-op exists to serve its owners, and instead of rewarding outside investors, the co-op returns surplus revenue to those who have purchased ownership shares.
CCFC has done its feasibility homework, and is now in the planning stage, which includes having incorporated, appointed a board of directors, and convened a steering team with five operating committees to address planning, financial, marketing/outreach, and vendor relations. While the board hopes to open the co-op by 2020, they need community support. Currently they are coordinating initial market research, creating a business plan, and launching an ownership campaign in efforts to reach a goal of selling 1500 owner shares before the doors open.
The third planning stage is implementation. In order to complete this last stage, more owners are needed. If you want to support this worthy endeavor, you can become an owner for a one-time share purchase of only $300.00. CCFC also has a payment plan. By doing so, you will be supporting our local food system, strengthening our local economy, and building community.
- To be socially responsible
- To care for our environment
- To support of local producers and sustainable agriculture
- To provide health-enhancing foods
- To keep prices as low as possible
- To create a sustainable business based on member ownership and democratic decision-making
- To be fair and supportive to our employees
- To be sensitive to the working and living conditions of those who make what we sell
- To be a community resource that helps those living in the area lead healthier lives
- To be a place in the community where people can come to gather and create
- To be good stewards of the environment through conscientious, sustainable use of resources
- To reach out to low-income members of the community
- Welcome All!
– Joye Ogrodowski
Kim Barragan/Board Secretary
Paula Schnese/Board President