Montavilla Food Co-op gains momentum

Check in on their progress – as revealed at the annual meeting of this potential outer East Portland store, held in (not surprisingly) Montavilla …

Checking members, and people who are interested in the Montavilla Food Co-op are Board Member Katherine Pedery and volunteer Juli Rush.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The dedicated volunteer board of directors told members how their long-hoped-for Montavilla Food Cooperative (MFC) store is moving closer toward reality.

Because it’s a true grass-roots effort – a food co-op – it doesn’t happen as would a store opened by a grocery chain, that simply leases space and stocks a store, explained MFC Board President Amanda Lamb on October 2, as their Annual Meeting was getting underway.

“We’re excited to update our members on what we’ve accomplished over the past year, and what is on the horizon for next year,” Lamb told East Portland News.

Food Co-op Initiative Executive Director Stuart Reid, head of a nonprofit organization that provides support services, spends a moment with MFC Board President Amanda Lamb.

“Our progress report includes that the fact that we have a sound financial position,” Lamb continued. “And, we’ve made huge strides with our membership growth, and we’re proud of the results that have come from several successful membership campaigns.”

At meetings like this, organizers ask attendees to “check in” by sharing what they’d like to have in a food co-op.

Another thing they’ve done, she added, is to bring in several national experts to help them make sure they’re doing what needs to be done, to get to the next phase of the co-op’s development.

“We’ve made good progress on a couple other pieces – like making a successful Market Study, and working on our pro-forma financials, projecting how profitable we would be, once we open the store,” Lamb remarked.

Good food – usually a potluck – is part of nearly all MFC organizing activities.

Asked if they have an opening date in mind for the MFC, Lamb replied, “There’s no magic way to predict membership growth; I’d say we’re about halfway to where we need to be, before we start thinking about seriously opening a store.”

Coming into the meeting with fruit tarts to share at the potluck brunch was one of MFC’s founding members, Luby Wind.

After setting down her fruit tarts, charter MFC member Luby Wind shows fresh figs she’s brought to the Annual Meeting.

Wind commented, “It’s worth the effort to me, because starting a food co-op here helps bring the community together, consolidating neighbors around a worthy cause and effort.

“There is a lot of diversity in our neighborhood, and that provides us with an opportunity to really get to know many of those who live here, and get better acquainted with the especially-important issues, such as food security, and the availability of good, affordable food,” Wind observed.

An organization focused on building community, and good food? These folks agree it’s a good idea!

See their entire Annual Report online, learn more about their organization, and become a member if you like (you don’t have to live in Montavilla to join), by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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