Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In Our Own Words: Member Testimonial (Inderdeep H.)

I joined the Co-op because I love healthy food. I came across the Richmond Food Co-op at a First Friday a while back, where they had a booth. It sounded like a very interesting grass roots initiative. I signed up for their mailing list. I received emails about their events such as pot lucks, meet and greet happy hours and their efforts to grow the membership through such initiatives. I thought to myself – “hey these guys have very fun events”. So, I decided to go one of their information sessions. Susan and Michele made their pitch – and I was sold! I became the 300th member/owner and I am a proud card carrying member of the Co-op!

I grew up in India – where it was not uncommon to go pick up fresh produce from the small market or a cart outside a local farm on a daily basis. The fruits and vegetables tasted delicious and distinct. The colors and the smells are so deeply ingrained. When I came to the US, and got vegetables from the grocery store – I wondered why the vegetables were so tasteless!

I try to eat healthy and believe that local organic sustainable food is a key to that lifestyle. Food should not be transported thousand miles across the country. The key things about the Co-op that are very attractive to me is other than their mission to open a grocery store selling affordable and healthy food, is their entire supply chain – collaborating with local farms and other like-minded businesses. Additionally, the process is democratic and we are all co-owners. What more could you ask for?

I really enjoy spending time with the members of the Co-op, they are engaged and informed and fun to be with. There is diversity in their backgrounds and a wide age range. The founders are passionate about the values of the Co-op and so are many of the members. I would strongly encourage non-members and fence sitters to take the plunge, so that we can have a community of a thousand members or more. We then will all be able to enjoy great affordable food from the Co-op and make some delicious meals!

-Inderdeep Huja, Co-op Member/Owner

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Know Your Board: Kelsey Miller

The reason the Co-op's vision resonates with me is simple: I see it as a way for Richmonders of all socioeconomic standings to get fresh, local produce onto their plates while keeping dollars in their wallets. If you’re on the receiving end of our monthly board updates and you attend our monthly meetings, then you know how we’re all working towards that common goal.  

So how do we live our food values until opening day? Here are three ways that I’m using my dollar to vote for good food pre-Co-op.

1. Put a Plant In It: There are few living situations that are completely devoid of growing opportunities. From Chia Pets to full-fledged raised garden beds, there’s a gardening method that’ll suit just about any house setup.

The Problem: Alas, one cannot live on basil and tomatoes alone.

The Solution:  The Co-op provides Mozzarella to make a caprese diet a little more manageable.

2. Sharing is Caring: Richmond has so many great options when it comes to community shared agriculture, making this the perfect base around which to build meals.

The Problem: The CSA calendar only gets us so far and then we’re left cold and hungry in the months of December, January and February.

The Solution: Even when winter weather necessitates buying products that are a little more preserved than fresh veggies and fruits, the Co-op means we can continue to support local vendors.

3. Breaking the Chain: Again with the Richmond love--we have so many options for restaurants that are locally sourced, making it easy to skip the chains and go local.

The Problem: These local restaurants need to know that this is what their diners want if they’re going to keep moving closer and closer to being 100% locally sourced.

The Solution: Supporting a thriving, successful Co-op--and moving away from Big Box stores--means that we as individuals and as a community can make our food values heard, continuing this move towards 100% local sourcing.

To sum it all up, you are what you eat and I see the Co-op as making all of us member/owners local, sustainable and healthy.

-Kelsey Miller, Board Treasurer