Islanders have the amazing San Juan Island Food Co-operative as a great example of a community centric, healthy foods oriented, locally owned non-profit food store. San Juan Island Food Co-op members and leadership met with several Orcas Islanders back in 2010 to share how they overcame the challenges of a Startup company and became an key part of San Juan Island’s food system. San Juan Islands Food Co-op’s mission statement is clear and easy to understand “The San Juan Island Food Co-op’s Mission is to establish an alternative food distribution framework – a community based, democratically managed, cooperatively owned grocery store that supports local and organic production, fosters conscientious consumption, and builds community connections.”
SJI Food Co-op’s web offers Signup, Recipes, Weekly Newsletter, Hours of Operation, How to place special orders and more. San Juan Island Food Co-op leadership explained the challenges of organizing and growing their Food Co-op to operating in the black. On Orcas, a group of interested residents began by developing a series of questions that would determine the likelihood of an Orcas Island Food Co-operative succeeding. These including understanding how much potential members will spend on food at a Co-op, how much they are willing to pay for a membership and other key business value proposition inquires.
Recently, another group of Orcas Islanders, led by Learner Limbach has taken up the charge to create a Food Co-operative on Orcas Island, and is collecting membership fees and promoting the notion of a Food Co-operative on Orcas Island. Neither of the two groups have met, but I’m certain that’s inevitable, or they’ll just adopt everything done to date. In this series about the 2010 effort to better understand the market for an Orcas Island Food Co-operative, we’ll post results of the market survey on about an Orcas Island Food Co-operative started in 2010.