Part of 5 Question Friday is making people aware of things in Tacoma that they might not otherwise be aware of. The Tacoma Food Co-Op is one of those things.
Tacoma Food Co-Op Board President, Mandy Landa was nice enough to take time out from her busy schedule to participate. Here she is:
1. What is the Tacoma Food Co-Op?
The Tacoma Food Co-op is a member-owned store that specializes in food and products dedicated to sustainable, wholesome, lifestyles – including fresh, organic, GMO-free, allergen-free, and local. People shop at the co-op because it has foods that are selected for their values and ingredients, because the store engenders community, and because it is an experience that is personal and caring (for each shopper and for the planet). The Tacoma Food Co-op is owned and governed by its member-owners. People join the co-op to have a voice in the store’s governance and to better their local community.
2. How did you get started with the Co-Op?
The co-op began with an idea: Tacoma needed better access to healthy food. The co-op’s first member-owners began spreading the word and recruiting more member-owners. A marketing study was done that revealed the location at 6th and Junett as one that would be accessible to a large and diverse group of Tacoma residents. In early 2011 a membership drive brought many new member-owners. After this, the co-op board contacted each member-owner to raise the funds necessary to open the co-op. Finally, a General Manager with rich experience in the organic community was hired to open and run the store.
3. What can people do to help the Co-Op?
Get in the habit of shopping at the co-op. Tell your friends about the co-op. Use our suggestion box (we listen). Become a member-owner. Volunteer to work at the co-op. Sign up for our email list. LIKE us on facebook. Buy co-op gift certificates. Come sit at our bar ($1 for a cup of coffee, fifty cents for tea, FREE WiFi).
4. Why is the Tacoma Food Co-Op important?
We opened the Tacoma Food Co-op because our research showed that Tacoma residents had a strong desire for a co-op. Food co-ops are a different way of doing business, one focused on human need not human greed. The community owns, governs and benefits from the Tacoma Food Co-op – not some distant shareholders.
Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
5. What’s next for the Co-Op?
More member-owners, lots of shoppers, great signage around the store, food/community education, deli food, and bike rack. A system that rewards member-owners with special deals, and outreach (such as events, farmers markets, and local organizations).
I’d like to thank Mandy for joining us this Friday. If you or someone you know would like to participate in 5 Question Friday, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org