The Benicia/Vallejo Food Co-op has been very busy over the past several months organizing to form a Steering Team. Before we get into the details we want to share some exciting news!
We will be in the newspaper again….this time The San Francisco Chronicle!! Sunday edition, February 19th, front page of the food section. Very exciting! This is the kind of exposure we need to spread the word of being the first food co-op in Solano County!
A reporter and a photographer from the San Francisco Chronicle attended our last Steering Team meeting. Jonathan is writing a full-length piece on food co-ops in the Bay Area, in particular, Start-ups. Are we the only one? Our meeting gave him the big event he needed as he witnessed democracy in action. During the second half of our meeting we voted on a new name! Because you have reached out to us and support our efforts, you are the first ones in our community to be in the know.
Drum roll please … we have changed our name to Cultivate Community Food Co-op!
This will be the last e-mail you receive from Benicia/Vallejo Food Co-op. Going forward, your e-mails will come from Cultivate Community Food Co-op. Learn about the inspiration behind our new name when our website goes live on the same day the newspaper article appears.
Last fall our founder, Paula Schnese, met one on one with individuals who reached out, showing an interest in helping form our food co-op. As a result, in early November, Paula and her husband, Terry, hosted the first Steering Team meeting, a robust gathering of 20 people, that provided an opportunity to share experiences, perspectives and goals for our collective vision. At that time, the Steering Team established five committees:
- Planning and Development
- Ownership Campaign
- Community Events
Over the course of the next two months, committees began working on their respective tasks and
brought forth their work product at the 2nd Steering Team meeting held on January 20th. Highlights from that meeting are below:
- Planning and Development – Currently our focus is on business planning and grant writing. Four members of this group will be travelling to Milwaukee in early March to the Up & Coming Food Co-op Conference. Paula attended last year, alone, and she is excited to have 3 Steering members join her this year. We received a $500 grant from Up & Coming again this year, and we plan on having a rough draft of our business plan finished before we attend. With the knowledge these 4 people bring back, our process will be that much more effective. It just so happens that two of these committee members are from Benicia and two members are from Vallejo and we didn’t know each other just one year ago, and now we are travelling across country together.
- Communication/Marketing – Our logo is finished and our website will be going ‘Live’ very soon.
- Community Events – Our first fundraiser is tonight! Thursday, Feb. 9th, at Conscious Cup in Vallejo as we offer ‘Pub Quiz Night’. It will be an evening full of fun, the winner will receive a cash prize. All proceeds will benefit the food co-op. This will be an ongoing event and we will offer it soon in Benicia as well.
- Volunteer Recruitment and Training Events – These two events which will be scheduled in April – once in Benicia and once in Vallejo – are intended to attract people who are serious about helping us move the food co-op forward. Currently, we have openings on several of our committees. The event will be coupled with fun activities and will provide an opportunity to share information about the food co-op, volunteer job descriptions, and ways that more people can help spread the word throughout our communities. If you have been thinking about volunteering your time to a worthy cause in your community, this may be just it!! It will be a wonderful opportunity to get to know our Steering Committee members and get involved! We have met so many wonderful people and friendships are blossoming. And this is just the beginning, it’s pretty cool to see.
- Movie Night – In April, we will host 2 screenings of Food For Change ’16. FFC is a documentary film focusing on food co-ops as a force for dynamic social and economic change in American culture. We will have one viewing in Benicia and one viewing in Vallejo. We will be selling Owner Shares and accepting donations for the Co-op at these screenings.