For those who’ve attended just about every meeting this may not be a surprise to you.
We have a numbers problem, only a few 5 ish people regularly come to meetings and potlucks. Actually the last meeting only had two regulars, and the last potluck only had two attendees, one of those two people was me, Michelle M. Week. This is very unfortunant. I can’t make something for the community without the community being intimately involved. I don’t want to scold people, but I do want to SOUND THE ALARM with these very low attendance rates. A community owned, self help organization such as the Food Co-op I am trying to help build in the Camas Community cannot be done if the community members don’t want to help themselves realize community ownership of a grocery store.
Do you really like the idea of a food co-op? Are you tired of corporations taking our money and running away with it? Do you really want to support local? The message I am getting is you don’t care, you don’t want this. I know it’s not true and I know we all have busy lives with kids, pets, houses, work. Don’t get me wrong the economic times are indeed very rough. I just had a tooth break and it cost me $1,000 to fix it. That’s all my saving I was able to save over the last year working for $8.50 an hour at a coffee shop that will only give me 20 to 25 hours a week because any more hours would mean they would have to offer me health coverage. I don’t have kids, but I sure know what it’s like to live on the edge pay check to pay check.
Regardless of my sad story, I believe in the healing powers of Co-ops. You own them, their transparent and the money they make is invested right back into our community and our own pockets! Imagine that! Even in 1844 when the first successful model of the modern day co-op was envisioned and made into a reality it took years of penny saving for the Rochdale pioneers to afford to open a store. But they knew the cost of everything, they agreed that this model of collective owning the grocery store would insure them affordable, consistent, quality access to the foods they wanted. This was a big dream given that the big companies of those days were known to add crushed bone into flour, hence white flour. Is that any different than our struggles today?
Today we have to fight Monsanto and big bank bail outs!! They are dousing all our foods with poisons. They abuse farmer workers and they put the small farmer (our neighbors!) out of business. And for what? So that they can feed the world GMO’s that no one knows if they are safe to eat? Are you outraged yet?! I am, and I want to help communities all over the world! But we gatta start small in our own communities, and so I have a soft spot for little Camas Wa. I want to see Camas get behind and fight for what’s right!! The best way to get out of this economic disparity is to reinvest as much of our own money back into each other. That’s how we make a strong economy and we’ll be well feed to boot with a community owned grocery store!! The corporations only care about the bottom line: PROFIT. Once we don’t make them profit they move out. For grocery stores that’s a thin margin, and many of them pulled out of Detroit, making that city the biggest food desert in the United States. It’s hard to imagine now, but with oil prices on the rise that means the cost of conventional grown food (using oil for fertilizers, pesticides, transportation) will rise and it could rise so much so that they’ll stop delivering food to Safeway. Then Camas will join the rise many small communities who don’t have grocery stores. Don’t be valued based on your ability to make a company a profit, Co-ops put people first, we value your input, your needs and your wants.
We can save ourselves from this danger by supporting and getting behind the Food Co-op. But you’ll have to mark down a date once a month and make it a priority. I’m happy to do the majority work since I have the time and passion. But I can’t do the work of a whole community alone. I need your help. Take control, don’t let the corporations turn you into a slave, join the co-op movement today!
April 18th 2011
1004 ne 4th ave Camas Wa 98607