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Author: admin, 14.06.2015. Category: Organic Food Delivery

GoodFood World Staff, November 16th, 2010Like Goldilocks in search of “just right,” local food markets struggle with size. On the “Too Big” end, we see “supernaturals” like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s descending en masse on large urban areas. For communities with populations of 25,00 to 50,000 people, markets like Skagit Valley Food Co-op find the size “Just Right!” Mount Vernon, Washington, (population around 28,000) is located on the banks of the Skagit River, which flows through a fertile valley where agriculture is still a major industry.
Todd Wood, Skagit Valley Food Co-op general manager, shared the co-op’s strategies for differentiation, views on community support, and local sourcing policies with GoodFood World. GoodFood World: How do you keep your shoppers “down home” when the competition is a fairly short drive away?
Todd Wood: Today we all offer pretty much the same products in the “center of the store,” where the packaged and prepared foods are located.
The Mount Vernon downtown is like many small towns; the last bakery closed 5 years ago, and we’re actually located in the old JC Penny’s department store.
We’ve just recently added an ice cream counter because we saw that there was no place downtown for families to buy ice cream cones and dishes. With our remodel we added a manufacturing area (where we make our ice cream and soon will begin making our own sausage), a community meeting space, and our Mercantile, which offers kitchenware, books, clothes, jewelry, toys, games, greeting cards and lots more. We also offer a large number of free or low-cost workshops and classes, ranging from cooking and nutrition to personal health and budgeting. This growth has brought challenges too; parking is getting more difficult and seating for lunch is tighter.
GoodFood World: You offer a long list of products from local and regional producers; how do you find your suppliers? We help them understand what a business needs to be successful, like proper invoicing and price points that aren’t out of line with similar products. In 2010, we partnered with the Puget Sound Food Network (PSFN) to launch the Skagit Farmer’s Wholesale Market – a new community outreach program where we connected local food service (institutions, schools, hospitals, restaurants) to local and regional farmers. On Thursdays, farmers would bring their products to our parking lot and meet buyers to establish relationships. Todd Wood: We are not100% organic, however we were the second store in Washington to have our produce department certified. We need to offer our shoppers a full range of organic and good quality conventional products to meet everyone’s budget. We believe that offering organic produce is most important and that’s where we put our effort. The Skagit Valley Food Co-op started in a Presbyterian church basement, across from the County Courthouse in Mount Vernon, Washington, in 1973. Get Our NewsletterGet summaries of our articles and features delivered right to your email! Listen to author Liz Carlisle talk about her new book Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America. Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all people able to use its services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members—those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative—who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative.

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures. While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the members. We’ve had MVNO mobile networks from Asda and Tesco for quite a while, Sainsburys recently got in on the act and the latest people to do so are the Co-op. So now amongst the fruit and veg, you will be able to pick up a Co-operative mobile branded SIM card for 99p.
It’s a pretty good package, compared to a lot of the bigger networks and even the other MVNOs generally only match the price and maybe more expensive for international calls. The SIM cards will be available in over 3,800 Co-op food stores, making them the widest availability of any supermarket MVNO, they will also be available online or over the phone if you aren’t near a Co-op store but fancy picking one up when they launch later this month.
The Co-operative Group is entering the mobile phone market by launching its first own-brand pay as you go (PAYG) SIM card, which offers one of the most competitive deals available. The Co-operative Mobile pay as you go will be available in more than 3,800 Co-operative Food stores* across the country from this month.It is being launched in partnership with The Phone Co-op, which provides the service, and will offer low-cost national and international rates, transparent pricing and extensive UK coverage in a single SIM card.
The Co-operative Mobile SIM card, which is also the first Co-operative prepaid mobile service, will be sold in more outlets thanany other supermarket brand SIM card.
The Co-operative Mobile pay as you go SIM card is a collaborative venture between a number of British co-operatives***, including The Phone Co-op, which has provided telecommunications services for 15 years.
The Phone Co-op sis an independent consumer co-operative based in Chipping Norton, Manchester and London.
Since 2012, The Phone Co-op trades as The Co-operative Phone and Broadband, The Co-operative Business Telecoms, and The Co-operative Mobile.Social and environmental responsibility underpin everything The Phone Co-op does, from the way it treats its customers and staff to how it invests its profits. EE (Everything Everywhere) is the largest and most advanced digital communications company in Britain, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to consumers, businesses, government and the wholesale market. EE has received extensive independent recognition including being ranked the UK’s best overall network by RootMetrics®, Fastest Network at the 2013 uSwitch Awards, Best Network at the 2013 Mobile Choice Consumer Awards and What Mobile Awards, Network Innovation at the 2013 Recombu awards and Best Network for Business at the 2013 Mobile Industry awards. Podcasts have exploded in popularity since they first came onto the scene in the early 2000’s. Taking the Story of Food as our guiding principle, we created an identity that brings every part of the Good Foods process to life – from the farm to the dinner table. Along with the new identity, we initiated a series of in-depth looks at those people’s working relationship with the Co-op. In towns with populations of 3,000 or fewer are rapidly losing their food markets as shoppers drive to Walmart, Costco, or large grocery chains. For example, in Seattle, there are 5 Whole Foods Markets and 8 Trader Joe’s within 15 miles of my home. If you walk down our aisles, you’ll see exactly the same products on the shelves that you can find at Whole Foods.
We do a good job in produce, we have a growing personal care department, and our food service ranges from deli items and bakery to ice cream. For example, while we buy bread from a local supplier, we realized that a bakery is important to the area.
At the time, Fair Trade coffee wasn’t so accessible so we sourced our own green coffee beans. Our suppliers come from as far north as Vancouver and the lower British Columbia mainland, into eastern Washington for grain farmers, and south to the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

People have an idea and invest their money in developing a product, sometimes without first doing their research in how to make it work. It’s important to be realistic with them and make sure they have a chance to be successful before going on. We have an annual meeting off-season with our farmer-suppliers where we talk about who’s going to grow what so the supply doesn’t get out of balance. We’ve offered seed loans, acted as a business incubator, and invested in our vendors to help them supply us. Consumer farmers markets and the co-op can support change, and this is another way to help farmers build commercial relationships with buyers.
For three weeks in September, local food producers offered their products for wholesale buyers in the parking lot of one of the Whole Foods Markets in Seattle. We have taken a middle path that goes further into our community, and has made us a more integral part than we might have been otherwise. We weave local and organic products into our food service, but our infrastructure just doesn’t allow us to go further. Like other food co-ops and buying clubs throughout the country, the Co-op was a way for people to bring good food to their hometowns in an economic manner consistent with their social values. This benefits members in proportion to the business they conduct with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested. If the co-op enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the members and maintains the cooperative’s autonomy. Unlike many other operators, The Co-operative Mobile does not round up to the nearest minute, giving people the opportunity to make a quick call for just a couple of pence. In the last 18 months, this co-operative has invested over ?622,000 in solar photovoltaic installations and has supported community ventures like The Bevy Pub in Brighton.
With approximately 15,000 employees and 600 retail stores, EE serves more than 27 million customers on EE, Orange and T-Mobile mobile and broadband plans.
Founded in 1972, the Co-op is Kentucky’s only locally owned and operated cooperative grocery.
Our work revolves around a parade of icons that illustrates the story every step of the way. Add 9 PCC Natural Markets – the largest natural food co-op “chain” in the US – and shoppers have plenty of options to buy healthy, local food. It gives farmers another alternative besides dealing with a local distributor or going wholesale. They bring farmers face to face with the folks serving a child their first solid food, preparing a meal for a first date, participating in the mundane but essential act of coming together for nourishment. From there, we built out new collateral: in-store signage, employee aprons, stickers for patrons.
Member-Ownership is an investment in the cooperative system, local farms and businesses, and sustainable production methods. We wanted to make something that the diverse group of people associated with the Co-op would be more than excited about, something they would take pride in.

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