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September 2019 Newsletter

The Monashee Community Co-op proudly sponsored Jon Steinman's Sept 4, 2019 Lecture on Food Co-ops. 
Earlier this month a group of us went to Vernon to listen to Jon Steinman speak about his book Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants.
Steinman, among other things, was the producer and host of the internationally syndicated radio show and podcast Deconstructing Dinner and was an elected director of Kootenay Co-op from 2006 to 2016.  His book uses statistics, stories and examples from co-ops in America and Canada to make a case for local and healthy food co-ops.

Did you know that Choices and Nature’s Fare are owned by Jim Pattison Group and Wholefoods by Amazon?  Steinman asked us who owns the grocery store where you shop?  
Steinman explained that cooperate supermarkets stretch the meaning of “local” to include Mexico and other countries.  The BC government in Bill M 222-2015 states that "local food" means (a) food produced or harvested in British Columbia, including forest or freshwater food, and (b) subject to any limitations in the regulations, food and beverages made in British Columbia if they include ingredients produced or harvested in British Columbia.

The Kootenay Co-op’s reaction to the abuse of the word local was the creation of their ‘True Local’ program.  Their program promotes and develops the capacity of suppliers in their bioregion, which is a 160 km (100 mile) radius around their store.  This area is defined on maps in the store.  Products from the Okanagan are listed not as local but Okanagan. Interesting isn’t it?  Should we develop a similar program?

This year, Steinman said that the Kootenay Co-op has had sales of $24 million so far after 40 years of operation.  The Monashee Community Co-op, after 5 years, is on a trajectory that is very similar to where the Kootenay Co-op was 35 years ago. What makes Monashee Community Co-op different?  One thing that I believe makes us different is the detective work that goes into making sure products sold in the store meet the vision set out my members.  What do you think makes us different?
Our Vision: Our community will have the knowledge and opportunity to access an abundance of local, safe, healthy food and household products through a caring association that demonstrates leadership in sustainable practices. 
Our Mission: To educate and support our community by providing local, healthy, environmentally and ethically responsible food and products.
Jon Steinman visits the Monashee Community Co-op and meets with some of our volunteers.

What do folks in the Lumby area value about the Monashee Community Co-op? In a recent survey conducted, here are some of the responses.
  • “I value that the (our) co-op is supporting local businesses and farms, that it is volunteer run, and that is non-GMO and organic.”
  • “Honest products and prices and how you guys (we) offer so much that is local and sustainable.”
  • “Fresh, good quality products.”
  • “I feel I can trust the products that I purchase there knowing the (our) co-op operates for the people they sell to and how it affects our environment.”
  • “The local products, the friendly and welcoming atmosphere, the emphasis on food safety, sustainability and organics, the awesome co-op members who shop regularly; the good times and good friends I have at the (our) co-op by being a volunteer cashier.”
 Steinman then answered the question: what makes the Kootenay Co-op different?  What makes them different is their true local program, their in-house produced ready to eat foods that use up food that is going to expire, having a spot for the community to meet and hold events and their product buying guidelines to name of few.

Finally, note that in this article I use our and we when I speak about the MCC.  That was another one of Steinman’s comments.  After all the MCC is owned by all its members.  We all have a say on how it is run and a responsibility for helping somehow in the operation of the daily operation of the store or in other ways.  Whatever your talents or interests are, we would appreciate your help, and suggestions.

The event was sponsored by us (Monashee Community Co-op), SENS ( and Okanagan Regional Library.
Further reading:
Article written by Sonja Peters, MCC member and Marketing Committee volunteer
This Newsletter is created on computer and comes out once per month.  If you've got an hour or two per month, and your own computer, you can help out the Co-Op from home!  We would happily teach you how to do this and take it on for 6 months or more!  It's fun, easy and a great skill to cultivate. 
Contact us to learn more!
Thank you for reading the Setpember edition of our Newsletter! We hope you enjoy the last days of summer.

Did you know.. Organic Week was September 9 to 15  We Hope you Celebrated with some Good Food from the Co-Op!

All the best,
Monashee Community Co-op Team
Copyright © 2019 Monashee Community Co-op, All rights reserved.

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