As part of a large, multi-stake Solano Local Food system project, Cultivate Community Food Co-op, in cooperation with other county organizations, will be working on a pilot project through September 21st with local farmers and chefs to offer participating co-op owners weekly home delivery of local, sustainably-grown produce and locally prepared meals. There will be no charge for home delivery for this pilot, though participants will need to pay for any food purchased.
The purpose of this effort is to collect data in regards to the costs of labor, equipment and time that is needed to develop and implement a local food network that supports Solano County consumers, farmers, and chefs. The results obtained will be used to better understand the opportunities and challenges that exist to achieve the goal of building the community and economy while improving access to healthy, sustainably grown food.
Cultivate Community Food Co-op (CCFC) will be Solano County’s first community-owned, natural grocery store providing high-quality, locally-sourced, culturally-relevant, ethically- produced and affordable products.
Click here for information about how to become a member.
The experts say it will take a startup food co-op about 3-5 yrs. to open a food co-op grocery store. Well if that is true, then Cultivate Community Food Co-op is right on course. After 18 months of Stage I development – Organizing, CCFC reached Stage II development – Feasibility and Planning, in July, when we filed our Articles of Incorporation.
In September we had an Incorporation party and sold 25 owner shares, (soon we will be selling owner shares online.) Which brings us to October, which just happens to be ‘Co-op month’. Co-op month has been celebrated annually in October across the United States for more than half a century. It is a time for cooperative businesses to reflect on their shared principles and to educate others about the value of belonging to a cooperative.
In doing our part, Cultivate Community Food Co-op will be joining Sustainable Solano in a panel discussion entitled, ‘How to Make the World Better’, on Wed. Oct. 25 at the Heritage Presbyterian Church in Benicia. CCFC’s founder, Paula Schnese, will share with the community the progress the food co-op has made, talk about our future goals and timelines, and answer questions from the audience. In addition to this educational event, during Co-op month, CCFC will
also be sharing information at some of the local farmers markets and at the Loma Vista Farm Harvest Festival on October 21st .
Become an owner of your local food co-op! We will be selling owner shares at all the events we attend! ��
Our Collective Goals
To create a sustainable grocery business based on member ownership and democratic decision-making
To support local producers and sustainable agriculture
To provide health-enhancing foods
To keep prices as low as possible
To be fair and supportive to our employees and to be sensitive to the working and living
conditions of those who make what we sell
To be a community resource that helps the people of Benicia and Vallejo lead healthier lives
To be a place in the community where people can come to gather and create community
To be good stewards of the environment through conscientious, sustainable use of resources
To reach out to low-income members of the community and enable their participation.
To welcome all.
Cultivate Community Food Co-op will be Solano County’s first community-owned, natural grocery store. We will be a one stop, brick and mortar grocer dedicated to providing high-quality, locally-sourced, culturally-relevant, ethically-produced and affordable products.
Offering health and wellness education, we aim to empower our community and provide a public meeting space to engage with others. We are committed to creating and maintaining a more sustainable economy with a just and equitable future for our farmers, artisans, employees and owners by decreasing the physical and social distance between producers and consumers.
Cultivate Community Food Cooperative, Inc. (CCFC) is a cooperative corporation organized under the Consumer Cooperative Corporation Law of California
Become an Owner of CCFC: Owners in good standing may vote in co-op elections, attend the Annual Meeting, and run for the Board of Directors.
Other benefits include:
Coupons, Sales and Discount Days
Case Discounts on Special Orders
Select a Plan: Online sales will be available on our website soon
Full Fair Share*: Invest $300
Strongly encouraged to facilitate store opening
Partial Share*: Invest $25
Now and every quarter (or more often) until the full Fair Share of $300 is reached
*A $5 processing fee is charged (this helps with the cost of creating membership cards)
Food, environment and human health, local economy and resilient communities
By Elena Karoulina
Executive Director of Sustainable Solano
Image from Pixabay
When was the last time you had Solano-grown produce on your dinner table? The most possible answer is ‘never’, unless you grow your own food in your garden or your backyard food forest. It’s a very unusual situation for a Bay Area county that is still largely agrarian, at least in the land use patterns.
Sustainable Solano is embarking on a new project to bring more local food to our communities and to connect our local farmers, chefs, and residents with the gifts of our land and with each other.
At the very end of September we received great news from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): our proposal to further our vision by developing a business plan for Solano Community Food Centers was selected for funding! Annually, USDA funds about 14% of grant applications for local food projects, and we are honored to earn support on a federal level.
What is a Community Food Center? It is a hub for local food activities: CSAs deliveries, cooking classes, community education, and large kitchens where chefs and community members can cook wholesome nutritious meals. Larger Community Food Centers can include a food co-op.
Although Solano County produces close to $354 million worth of agricultural products and exports these products to more than 40 countries, only a fraction of that amount remains in the county due to weak distribution system, lack of sales outlets and somewhat low interest in local food. You can hardly find any Solano-grown products in our farmer markets, stores and restaurants. Small farmers struggle to hold on to their land and to connect with local customers.
Where do we buy local food? People who can afford it obtain their local ag products in the markets outside our county: Napa, Sonoma, Berkeley (thus spending local money outside our local communities). Some cities in Solano are blessed with Community Supported Agriculture, but not many people know about this option and take advantage of it. People with low means have to go without local fresh food at all. Solano is a county of commuters, and unfortunately, the only option available for families on a go is fast-food restaurants and convenience stores (you cannot find local food there!).
We pay dearly for this lack of access to local food with our health: Solano County is among the sickest counties in the nation. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease rates are above national average in our home county.
Food, human health, the environment and local economies are all interconnected; by creating a network of city-based Community Food Centers, there is potential to re-envision and re-construct Solano County’s food system so that it works for everyone in the local food supply chain.
Sustainable Solano has partnered with researchers at UC Davis, Solano County Department of Agriculture and Department of Public Health to conduct a feasibility study, develop an effective business plan, and outline implementation for local food businesses that aggregate, process and distribute locally-produced, healthy food products. Our big vision is the environmentally and economically sustainable, equitable local food systems in Solano County.
We are looking for urban and rural farmers, chefs and local food activists interested to implement this vision. We’d love to hear from you with your comments, suggestions, reflections, and offers to help. Please email directly to me at email@example.com
Let’s make it happen! I am looking forward to meet all of you at the official launch of the program on Wednesday, October 25, at 7 pm, at Benicia’s Heritage Presbyterian Church (doors open at 6 pm). Please join our Advisory Board members Dr. Feenstra and Dr. Campbell in the conversation about the future of food and why local resilient food system is so important. Come meet the project team and all of us interested to bring this vision to reality.
Greg Morrison, Paula Schnese, Ana Acosta and Wolf Hagar travel to Sacramento to file CCFC’s articles of incorporation with our Secretary of State.
Big news! Cultivate Community Food Cooperative, Inc. celebrates becoming an official business entity in the State of California! Cultivate Community Food Co-op (CCFC) is working to establish Solano County’s first community-owned, natural grocery store- a one-stop, brick and mortar grocer dedicated to providing high quality, locally sourced, culturally relevant, ethically produced and affordable products for a more sustainable local economy.
This summer, four members of CCFC’s steering team including Founder Paula Schnese, Wolf Hagar, Ana Acosta, and Greg Morrison traveled to the office of the Secretary of State in Sacramento to file Cultivate Community Food Cooperative, Inc.’s Articles of Incorporation, mandatory in the state to enable a cooperative to operate as a legal entity.
Everyone is invited to attend the “Incorporation Celebration” event on Friday, September 8th from 7:00p-9:00p in the back room of the Rellik Tavern on First St. in Benicia to share in a toast of champagne (or a cup of tea) to celebrate this huge community milestone. Bring your wallets as this will be the first opportunity to buy in on Owner Shares! Be one of the first 100 owners and you will receive a special ‘Thank You’ gift from CCFC!
Join us in co-creating a world that works for everyone. Whether you were with us for the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium, or you want to learn more about how you, with your own unique values, skills, and concerns, can commit to creating the change you want to see, a good place to start with with the Game Changer Intensive. Offered by Pachamama Alliance, it is a seven-week online course designed to educate, inspire, and equip you to be a pro-activist leader, a game changer in your community.
Sustainable Solano is partnering with Pachamama Alliance and Solano County libraries to offer, in conjunction with the online session, regular meeting spaces for residents of Solano County to meet, build, and support our communities together. If you are interested in registering, please submit your interest here. Pachamama and Sustainable Solano will contact you with more information according to the respective cities that you live in. For any additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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