As of August 5, 2013
A small grant from Bread for the Journey helped the Santa Fe Community Coop (SFCC, the Coop) get started in late January 2013. We used their $1,000 to develop a Member Subscription Agreement, Articles of Incorporation, and a Promissory Note. We also printed some marketing materials.
The Coop is incorporated as a for-profit cooperative under New Mexico law and has developed its By-Laws. It has recruited a Board of Directors and a talented Advisory Board. We formed Work Groups: Local Food/Food Research, Wellness/Nutrition, Marketing Communications, Capital Raise, Food & Health Equity, a 501(c)3 Foundation, By-Laws, and Design Team. See our web site, sfcommunitycoop.wordpress.com for Board bios (under ABOUT) and descriptions of the Work Groups (under PARTICIPATE).
We have completed a preliminary business plan and preliminary financials.
The Coop recently enrolled Jane Schwartz, responsible for the landslide Obama win in Santa Fe, to head our Marketing Drive. She is building a strong volunteer organization to table and to host private recruitment events and larger, festive community events.
Recently, the Coop launched our online member subscription form and new Members can now pay by check, Visa/MC or PayPal. This has significantly improved our enrollment rate.
We have developed a plan for our capital raise that includes foundations, local credit unions, local businesses, an auction, Slow Money, and high net worth locals. We have a preliminary financial commitment from a prominent local bank and have identified three CDFI banks and local banks and credit unions as potential funding sources. We are re-evaluating our build out for possible phasing to reduce our capital raise.
The Coop has developed a first draft architectural program and preliminary space and refrigeration requirements. Green Architect, Julia Takahashi, on our Advisory Board, has been instrumental in our early work, and the Park Slope Food Cooperative has advised us on our refrigeration requirements.
We have been negotiating a lease on an excellent, centrally located site that bridges “old” Santa Fe, more affluent, and “new”, densely populated Santa Fe, less affluent. We are considering two additional sites and analyzing our lease/buy/build options. It is our intention to have some agricultural component in the Coop, a roof garden or a vertical farm inside our building, to be irrigated with grey water. One of the sites we’re considering includes a fully irrigated greenhouse.
The Coop has interviewed four architects, and we have engaged Suby Bowden, who has deep ties to the community, providing vision, financial stewardship, and architectural guidance to Santa Fe’s 75-acre Railyard project and its beloved Farmers’ Market for the last 27 years, as our architect. Suby is partnering with AIA President Oscar Palacios, who built Cid’s grocery in Taos, NM.
The Coop has engaged a consultant with work experience at major refrigeration manufacturers and consulting experience with mainstream grocery retailers, notably Costco, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, and Pro’s Ranch, to advise us on refrigeration. Whole Foods’ Energy Tzar, a friend, will provide input to our energy conservation program.
Marketing Communications/Social Media
To date the Coop has built a web site, sfcommunitycoop.wordpress.com, launched a Facebook page, Santa Fe Community Coop, and initiated a MeetUp group. Our blog has 333 followers. We have built a 500+ mailing list and hold regular meetings that approximately 90 people have attended.
We have developed a distinctive banner and are working on our branding, Santa Fe Community Coop . . . the real deal !
The Coop has developed a postcard and FAQ to get the word out and have created a brochure to post on bulletin boards.
SFCC is planning a media campaign. George Cappanelli, Board Member and former head of a NYC public relations company, is guiding our public relations efforts. We have met with Marilyn Mason, President of KSFR, and enrolled Gershon Siegel, former publisher of Santa Fe’s Sun Monthly, to write articles for local publications and James Morris McGrath, popular local author, to introduce the Coop to local press. We are about to introduce ourselves to the major local paper, the Santa Fe New Mexican, and the most popular monthly, GreenFire Times. EcoSource will publish an article about the Coop in October.
The cooperative is establishing relationships with natural food and farm suppliers including UNFI, Albert’s, Veritable Vegetable and local farmers and ranchers Matt Romero Farms, Old Straw Farm, Red Mesa, Comida de Campos, White Mountain and others. Richelle Elder, 17-year produce manager at The MarketPlace and La Montanita, is on our Advisory Board, assisting us with sourcing and organizing our produce department. Acclaimed chef, Deborah Madison, Coop Board Member and community spokesperson, founding chef at Green’s and chef at Chez Panisse, author of 11 cookbooks, first Manager then Board Member of the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market and Board Member of Slow Food International is introducing the Coop to local farmers and farming communities including those in the San Luis Valley in Colorado (253 farms) and Quivira, a local ranchers’ association.
We are establishing community links with local cooperatives, the Los Alamos Community Market and Espanola Community Market, along with a Las Vegas buying club. We have also been introducing the Coop to local food, agriculture/urban homesteading, sustainability, and healthcare NGO’s including the influential Santa Fe Food Policy Council (who are featuring SFCC in their plan as an exemplary local food initiative), Farm-to-Table, Homegrown New Mexico, The Carbon Economy Series, Earthcare, Sustainable Santa Fe, Gaia Gardens, Santa Fe Youthbuild, Kitchen Angels (Executive Director Tony McCarty is on our Advisory Board), Green Drinks, WeArePeopleHere and their Public Banking initiative, and La Familia Medical Center. Many of the leaders of these organizations have joined the Community Coop.
The SFCC has recently begun to work closely with La Familia Medical Center, a well-established local health clinic that serves Santa Fe’s underserved Hispanic population, 50% of the city’s population, and we are exploring co-sponsoring a local fund raiser, partnering in grant applications, offering culturally attuned nutritional and cooking programs, creating a satellite on the Southside of town, providing web and on-the-ground outreach, subsidizing low-income Coop Memberships and provide matching funds for SNAP recipients. La Familia was one of five recipients of a five-year/$140k a year CDC grant to improve nutrition and exercise for their constituents.
Park Slope Food Coop Alliance
BJ Pheiffer, Founder and President of the Board, is a 20 year veteran of the PSFC, and she has established a close working relationship with Joe Holtz, General Manager, and Ann Herpel, General Coordinator, who have pledged assistance helping us develop the SFCC.