Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Joined the Co-op Because...

You've heard a lot of compelling reasons from us, your Co-op Board and Steering Committee, as to why you should become a member/owner of the Richmond Food Co-op.

Now it's time to bring in the voices of our Founding Member/Owners, those that have taken a leap for local, by becoming one of the first 100.


“It's long overdue in Richmond.  I have been a member in a co-op in another state in the past and loved being able to shape where I shop.”
“I have been dreaming of a co-op in Richmond ever since I moved here. It is about damn time!”

"To take part in something I believe in, healthy local food options.  I am a local farmer and nurseryman myself, and I understand the importance of a non-csa and non "Saturday" farmers market-related buying experience in Richmond.”
“We have big concerns about the sourcing of our food by big grocery chains.” 
 “I have always tried to eat healthy foods and support local businesses.  I'm a single working mother who is short on time, but now that my children are getting older I feel like I have the time to get involved in causes that mean something to me... joining the co-op as a member/owner seems like a good step in that direction.”
"I support community involvement, local farmers.... I love healthy food all year long. I want to be able to get good food not just during seasonal farmers' markets but anytime.”

These are the voices of your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members.  They have joined a community dedicated to eating fresh, healthy food that supports our local economy. 

And finally, a couple of quotes from folks who likely would have joined the Co-op too:

“We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present.”  -Thomas Edison

"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?"  -Frank Scully

Come out on this limb with us...where the VA fresh fruit is...
The sun is shining on Richmond now - so let's bloom!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Co-op = Community

The co-op model is unique in myriad ways, but I would argue that the most important is the sense of community that transforms a shared vision into a brick and mortar store, where food shopping becomes a way to put values into practice. Co-op equals community. We are excited about engaging and growing our Co-op community and are planning lots of opportunities to get together in the months ahead. 

We are keeping the fun from Hardywood going with monthly social gatherings. On Feb. 26th we will host a cocktail hour at Olio Uptown – the event is open to all and there will be special perks for existing members (or those who sign up at the event!). Our happy hours have been well attended and well loved, so we plan to keep these going, as well as adding in a diversity of activities in the months to come. As the weather warms up we will be spending time together outdoors with picnics, farm tours and more!

This spring we will also be hosting monthly Co-op Community Forums at the William Byrd Community House on the third Monday of the month. The forums will consist of an information session for prospective members who want to learn more and a general meeting for existing members to keep up to date on our progress and development. The first in the series is this coming Monday, Feb. 18th.

Additionally, in March we will start Co-op Potluck Parties – a way for you to invite your friends and neighbors to join the Co-op community. Member/Owners will have the opportunity to host a potluck (or food swap, or wine & cheese pairing, or coffee & cookies, or ___ ...) and tell those they love why they love the Co-op. A Board/Steering Committee member will join the party and be available to answer any questions. Hosting member/owners will actively take responsibility for getting the Co-op the members we need to open. They will be sharing the Co-op experience with friends. They will be having a fun party. They even get a special thank you host gift. What’s not to love?

Visit our website for details on our upcoming events. I look forward to seeing you soon!

-Michele Lord

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wide World of Co-ops

Maps tell the best stories.  And this map is making a couple of points:

1)  Richmond can support a co-op.

  • Our smaller VA cities (whom we love) are showing us up.  Take a look:
    • Harrisonburg, VA: Population 49,973
    • Roanoke, VA: Population 96,714
  • Neighboring states have cities comparable and larger in size to us that have thriving food co-ops:
    • Durham, NC: 233,252
    • Greensboro, NC: Population 273,425

Richmond, VA:  Population 205,533

2)  Richmond needs a co-op. 

Looking at Richmond on this map, it's clear that we are smack in an underserved area.  There are 7 food co-ops in North Carolina and 5 in Maryland. Virginia's capital needs to be represented in the co-op landscape.

So we're doing something about it.  As we write this post, we are 75 members strong and barely a week into our membership campaign.  We have the momentum, and we are funneling it into action.

Let's be the cartographers of our own food destiny. Together we will put Richmond on the map and help fill that hole!