Alternative Food Economy. Source: Holt, 2004 Co-operatives as supporters of an alternative food economy in BC SSHRC-funded...
Co-operatives as supporters of an alternative food economy in BC Cheryl Lans <ul><li>My research explored the evolution of...
Co-ops & the alternative food economy <ul><li>The frame ‘social economy’ is defined as a grass-roots based, regionally ori...
Conceptual framework <ul><li>  Lynggaard (2001b) develops a model that encapsulates the social context of agriculture – an...
Conceptual framework - Soderbaum <ul><li>Lynggaard’s concepts can be also combined with the political economy ideas of Pet...
Conceptual framework - Collyer <ul><li>Collyer (2003) reviews previous research by Coleman and Skogstad, 1990:26) in which...
Conceptual framework - networks <ul><li>Previous research by Marsh and Rhodes (1992) claimed that agricultural policy was ...
Co-ops in the organic sector <ul><li>In the past ten years the involvement of co-operatives in building an alternative foo...
Powell River Farmer’s Institute <ul><li>The Powell River Farmer’s Institute was established in 1915 by 32 farmers (Walz, 2...
Kootenay Co-op <ul><li>In 1985 the co-op moved to a heritage building in Nelson (population 10,000) and now has 6,000 memb...
Organiko Food Co-op <ul><li>Organiko is a new co-op selling raw and organic food in North Vancouver.  The co-op was put to...
UBC Food Co-op /  Sprouts <ul><li>The UBC Food Co-op was founded (in 1997) to raise awareness of ethical and sustainable f...
UBC Food co-op / Sprouts <ul><li>Sprouts suppliers include: UBC farm, La Siembra Co-op, Just Us, Giva, Horizon, Westpoint,...
Sharing the harvest <ul><li>UBC Farm and the UBC Food Co-op have been able to expand on existing education and outreach in...
UBC Food co-op activities <ul><li>The UBC Co-op commissioned a comprehensive Reference Guide  </li></ul><ul><li>on organic...
Glorious Garnish and Seasonal Salad Company  /  Fraser Common Farm Co-op (FCFC ) <ul><li>Fraser Common Farm Co-op’s (FCFC)...
Langley Organic Growers Assoc, Glen Valley Farm <ul><li>Langley Organic Growers Association includes: Glen Valley Farm, Ol...
The Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-op (GVOFC ) <ul><li>The Glen Valley Organic Farm co-op (GVOFC) in Mt Lehman was formed by ...
<ul><li>The GVOFC farm team meets once a month over a shared meal and decides on the co-op goals through consensus. Their ...
Glen Valley Organic Farm <ul><li>The land is available as leases to landless farmers who share the same organic and stewar...
Fraser Common Farm Co-op <ul><li>Several of Fraser Common Farm Co-op’s members are part-time staff of the non-profit Farm ...
Fraser Common Farm Co-op <ul><li>Three people own the farm and have a lease agreement with the co-op. The co-op believes i...
Glorious Garnish and Seasonal Salad <ul><li>The Glorious Garnish and Seasonal Salad Company Ltd started in 1985 when Heath...
Glorious Salads <ul><li>The goal of Glorious Salads is to serve the upscale restaurant market trade. They also sell produc...
Gender in the Growing Circle Food Co-op <ul><li>The first five interviews conducted in 2003 and interview #7 provided info...
Gender & Multi-stakeholder investment <ul><li>The Growing Circle Food Co-op was started by women, including two farmers an...
Gender & multi-stakeholder <ul><li>During this time Jana also developed relationships with female mentors with CED and bus...
Growing circle food co-op <ul><li>Purchases are made first from local (Salt Spring Island) certified organic producer memb...
The Growing Circle Food Co-op <ul><li>The livestock producers associated with the co-op are Duck Creek farm (cross bred Hi...
Growing Circle Food Co-operative <ul><li>Ramona Scott, a well-known manager left the co-op in 2002 after two years. She st...
Community Alternatives Co-op <ul><li>Community Alternatives Co-op has 53 members (kids to elderly) living in a cooperative...
Wild Island Foods Co-operative <ul><li>Wild Island Foods Co-operative ran the island’s only scratch bakery and commercial ...
Wild Island Foods Co-operative <ul><li>A big fundraising drive was held in 2003 that raised $37,000 from the community. Th...
& co-op marketing <ul><li>BSE and the closure of the US border gave co-op marketing and processing a legitimacy that it di...
BSE’s economic impact <ul><li>Canadian processors slaughtered 26% more cattle than before the border closed. Many of the C...
Co-op slaughtering <ul><li>Peace Country Tender Beef Co-op Ltd., in Dawson Creek is a planned new-generation multi-species...
Co-op slaughtering <ul><li>A few Alberta cattle ranchers and the British Columbia Livestock Producers Co-op bought the mot...
Canadian-controlled slaughtering <ul><li>The government pledged $66 million in loan guarantees to support processing opera...
Conclusion - building an alternative food economy in BC <ul><li>There are groups of people in organic farming and in the c...
Conclusion - co-ops in alternative agriculture <ul><li>Co-ops have worked alongside organic farmers to build an alternativ...
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Co-ops and organic farming

  1. 1. Alternative Food Economy. Source: Holt, 2004 Co-operatives as supporters of an alternative food economy in BC SSHRC-funded postdoctoral research conducted from 2003—2005 by Cheryl Lans Four areas are examined in the research: co-ops involved in organics, the ALR, supply management, & the new meat inspection regulations My research explored the evolution of an alternative food economy and the response to this by actors in conventional agriculture. The research was designed to be useful to urban and rural people trying to build sustainable and vibrant communities. The research also looked at the role that co-ops play in the development of this alternative food economy. SSHRC-funded postdoctoral research conducted from 2003—2005 by Cheryl Lans Four areas are examined in the research: co-ops involved in organics, the ALR, supply management, & the new meat inspection regulations My research explored the evolution of an alternative food economy and the response to this by actors in conventional agriculture. The research was designed to be useful to urban and rural people trying to build sustainable and vibrant communities. The research also looked at the role that co-ops play in the development of this alternative food economy. Politics
  2. 2. Co-operatives as supporters of an alternative food economy in BC Cheryl Lans <ul><li>My research explored the evolution of an alternative food economy and the response to this by actors in conventional agriculture. The research was designed to be useful to urban and rural people trying to build sustainable and vibrant communities. The research also looked at the role that co-ops play in the development of this alternative food economy. </li></ul><ul><li>Four areas are examined in the research: co-ops involved in organics, the ALR, supply management & the new meat inspection regulations </li></ul>
  3. 3. Co-ops & the alternative food economy <ul><li>The frame ‘social economy’ is defined as a grass-roots based, regionally oriented federation of decentralized, autonomous and democratic enterprises building sustainable communities (Wilkinson and Quarter, 1995). Co-operatives fit into the social economy model as buying clubs, local exchange systems and joint-stock companies (Elsen and Wallimann, 1998). Co-ops are flourishing in rural areas where communities want to make their own decisions to deal with economic downturns in resource-based economies. Co-ops in urban areas like the East End Food Co-op (EEFC) are faring well. The EEFC was founded as a buying club in 1975 but is now a member service organization (http://www.east-end-food.coop/). </li></ul><ul><li>Some figures estimate that one in five of the population of BC are involved in co-ops. British Columbia has 700 incorporated co-ops and has recently added 70 to this number each year (Wilson, 2004). </li></ul><ul><li>In its 2004 Senate Report Value-added agriculture in Canada the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry recommended that the federal government should investigate options that would increase access to capital for farmers wanting to purchase New Generation Co-op shares (Senate, 2004). Co-ops were described in the Senate report as another way to add value to agriculture since they can remove the middle man and thus increase farm profits. Many farmers markets are co-operatives (Senate, 2004). </li></ul>
  4. 4. Conceptual framework <ul><li>  Lynggaard (2001b) develops a model that encapsulates the social context of agriculture – and of organic farming. The model focuses on three fields of interest: agriculture policy, the food market and the farming community. </li></ul><ul><li>Lynggaard (2001b) has also developed a concept of ‘creative conflict’. Lynggaard (2001a) claims that since current organic farming developed as a critique of modern technological farming, the inter-relationship between the organizational fields of conventional and organic agriculture involves a divergence in perceptions of agriculture, and conflicts. </li></ul><ul><li>Organic farming standards are derived from organic farming values and thus have legitimacy among farmers and consumers and this facilitates compliance (Lynggaard, 2001b). </li></ul>
  5. 5. Conceptual framework - Soderbaum <ul><li>Lynggaard’s concepts can be also combined with the political economy ideas of Peter Söderbaum (1993). Söderbaum replaces the standard economic man and his firm with the political economic person and political economic organisation. Söderbaum claims that people are considered political beings enmeshed into networks of relationships. Their behaviour is shaped by their roles, relationships, motives and activities. Everyday behaviour and civic and professional activities in turn build identities and ideological orientations, networks and life-styles. </li></ul><ul><li>Söderbaum (1993) also includes dominant cultural and behavioural patterns like science and ideology that shape opinions and outcomes into his framework. Individuals have their own ideologies or means-ends relationships (environmental, organic, feminist) in reference to those overarching frameworks. </li></ul><ul><li>Söderbaum (1993) also uses a definition of rationality in which decision-making is an adaptation or matching process where the ideological orientation of the specific actors is matched against the multi-dimentional potential impacts of the specific courses of action being considered and thus shapes the eventual decision. Performance is then based not only on economic considerations but on social terms (ideology, ethics, participation, responsibility, accountability) in relation to specific stakeholders and the wider society. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Conceptual framework - Collyer <ul><li>Collyer (2003) reviews previous research by Coleman and Skogstad, 1990:26) in which those authors claim that the concept of a policy network should describe the properties that characterise the relationships among the particular set of actors that form around an issue of importance to the policy community. The focus of the policy network approach is thus on the relationships among the actors involved in the policy making process, rather than the values or characteristics of the actors. </li></ul><ul><li>Collyer’s work is based on the Gramscian concept of ideology which includes the customs, practices and behaviours which reflect, consciously or unconsciously, ideas about society and the nature of reality. Here, ideology becomes the glue that is more than just the base, but is constituted by both social practices and institutional arrangements, and thus bridges both structure and superstructure. </li></ul><ul><li>Collyer combines this definition of ideology with the Foucaultian version of discourse to theorise policy change. Both concepts can be used in reference to the relationships between ideas, practices and structures, to demonstrate that ideas and policies change because they and the actors involved are always part of an ongoing struggle. There is always inter-group conflict and dissent and a struggle for meaning, dominance and power. These conflicts among actors within structures about ideas and practices then produce change (Collyer, 2003). </li></ul>
  7. 7. Conceptual framework - networks <ul><li>Previous research by Marsh and Rhodes (1992) claimed that agricultural policy was created by networks which consist of government bodies and policy communities or pressure groups (Woods, 1997). </li></ul><ul><li>Networks are political structures which constrain and facilitate, but often but not always determine policy outcomes (Marsh, 1995). Structures do not exist independent of agents, but they also cannot be reduced to the preferences and actions of agents. </li></ul><ul><li>The relationship between structures and agents is dialectical. The actions of agents change structures which, in turn, form the context within which agents act (Marsh, 1995). Structures may constrain or facilitate agents but in turn they are interpreted and re-negotiated and, thus, subject to change by agents (Marsh, 1995). </li></ul><ul><li>Marsh (1995) quotes previous work (Scott, 1990; 135-151) that argues that political structures like policy networks [corporatist structures] become the new social movements of the disenfranchised middle class. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Co-ops in the organic sector <ul><li>In the past ten years the involvement of co-operatives in building an alternative food economy has grown (for example the multi-stakeholder Growing Circle Food Co-operative on Salt Spring Island). </li></ul><ul><li>Not theoretically co-ops but similar in principle are farms operating under the framework of community-supported agriculture (CSA). </li></ul><ul><li>Consumers buy shares which entitles them to a certain amount of crops for the summer. They also get a say in what is planted and usually do some of the farm work. The crops are usually delivered in boxes to the consumer on a set schedule. </li></ul><ul><li>Box programs like Saanich Organics are slightly different from “true” CSA operations because they do not require the consumer to do any work on the farm. Box programs may offer consumers more choices in selections and quantities. Box programs give farmers money up front for the crop so that they don’t have to take out a loan. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Powell River Farmer’s Institute <ul><li>The Powell River Farmer’s Institute was established in 1915 by 32 farmers (Walz, 2005). </li></ul><ul><li>It had a co-operative grain business from 1978 to 1984 with 500 members. The Institute also built agricultural fairgrounds for a summer-time farmers’ market and has held a Farmer’s Day fair since 1975 (Walz, 2005). </li></ul><ul><li>The Farmer’s Institute also worked with the Powell River Regional District to declare their district a genetically engineered free crop area. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Kootenay Co-op <ul><li>In 1985 the co-op moved to a heritage building in Nelson (population 10,000) and now has 6,000 members, 40 employees and grossed $4.7 million in 2002 and $6 million in 2004/5 (Cayo, 2002). </li></ul><ul><li>The co-op has retail space, a deli, a supplements section and a produce section that covers ¼ of the retail space and accounts for one-fifth of the sales (Cayo, 2002). </li></ul><ul><li>The co-op maintains its co-operative principles in all decisions and supports more than 40 local Kootenay businesses and organic farmers. </li></ul><ul><li>It has carried mainly organic produce since 1988, and in the early stages before COABC, it developed its own certifying system (Cayo, 2002). </li></ul><ul><li>In 2002, 75% of the produce was from Nelson and 20% from BC. The co-op takes credit for the fact that 8% of the Nelson-area population buys organic as opposed to the 2% national average. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Organiko Food Co-op <ul><li>Organiko is a new co-op selling raw and organic food in North Vancouver. The co-op was put together by friends for their family needs and began operating in February 2003 (http://www.rawbc.org/biz/organiko.html). </li></ul><ul><li>Members pay $20/yr and get two plastic bins. One bin is delivered and one is kept to pack for the following order. They get an email list weekly of available products and return their orders to the person designated to consolidate them. This person contacts the suppliers and then orders are delivered and sorted at one members’ house and picked up when convenient. Members pay a surcharge of 5% that is redistributed to those who volunteered in the previous month. </li></ul><ul><li>They also run a program called Recycle a Step Further which takes non blue box items to the North Shore Recycling Depot once a month. They also have an organic compost program (http://www.rawbc.org/biz/organiko.html). </li></ul>
  12. 12. UBC Food Co-op / Sprouts <ul><li>The UBC Food Co-op was founded (in 1997) to raise awareness of ethical and sustainable foods. It is still run by students in the Student Union Building at UBC. </li></ul><ul><li>Its’ goals are to: </li></ul><ul><li>Provide affordable and fair-trade products to the UBC community </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage and contribute to campus sustainability by supporting local producers and obtaining produce from the UBC farm </li></ul><ul><li>To inspire students to take an active role in their community’s food system </li></ul><ul><li>The Food co-op started selling organic dry goods in the Sub in 2003 (The Ubyssey Sept 7, 2004). In September 2004 they moved to a renovated area (renovations were funded by the Alma Mater Society) with a larger floor space and they renamed themselves Sprouts . They increased their inventory and their hours. </li></ul><ul><li>They received funds from local businesses and organisations like VanCity and Fisher Scientific and $2/year membership fees from approximately 500 members (Griffin, 2004). Lifetime membership fees in 2005 were $5.00 for UBC students, staff and faculty and $8.00 for non-UBC members. Annual membership was $2.00 with the first purchase (Diaz et al., 2004). </li></ul>
  13. 13. UBC Food co-op / Sprouts <ul><li>Sprouts suppliers include: UBC farm, La Siembra Co-op, Just Us, Giva, Horizon, Westpoint, the Daily Scoop, Discovery Organics, Canagreen, European Bakery, Café Etico, the Cook Street Studio Cafe and Pro Organics (The La Siembra Co-op imports directly from three co-ops in Paraguay (Diaz et al., 2004; Lancaster, 2005). Sprouts also contributed grocery products to the UBC farm CSA boxes. </li></ul><ul><li>Rather than sell only to the converted, the Co-op has workshops in collaboration with UBC Farm and goes into classrooms to talk about the co-op and an alternative food economy (Griffin, 2004). This program was funded in Fall 2004 by VanCity Credit Union. </li></ul><ul><li>This activity boosted their membership from 253 in 2003 to more than 800 members in 2004 (Diaz et al., 2004). They got a $35,000 EnviroFund Grant for their proposal “Sharing the Harvest”. </li></ul><ul><li>UBC Food Co-op educates the masses about organic food </li></ul><ul><li>The Ubyssey Friday, October 22, 2004 </li></ul>
  14. 14. Sharing the harvest <ul><li>UBC Farm and the UBC Food Co-op have been able to expand on existing education and outreach initiatives to promote the relationship between ecological restoration, community service and tasty food. Some of the successes achieved over the course of the grant’s year include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Piloting a fresh produce box delivery program to members of the campus community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborating with 17 First Nations Aboriginal health organizations in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside community who are working together in a community garden on site at the UBC Farm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hosting 3 outdoor festivals at the UBC Farm for community members across the Lower Mainland </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.landfood.ubc.ca/donor_community/difference_gift.htm </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. UBC Food co-op activities <ul><li>The UBC Co-op commissioned a comprehensive Reference Guide </li></ul><ul><li>on organic food and health eating, fair trade and co-op models of business. It was compiled by a group of students in the Masters in Library & Information Studies Program. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2004 Alice Miro, President of the Co-op gave a presentation on their operations during the UBC reading week. In the 2004 reading week, 200 UBC students took part in 17 community service projects. The projects are designed to stimulate students’ thinking about important social issues (http://www.learningexchange.ubc.ca/reading/project2004.html). At the end of the week students provide feedback. </li></ul><ul><li>The Co-op planned to host a class on cooking by the Cook Street Studio (The Cook Street Studio hires unemployed youths and teaches a 6 month chef training program to at-risk youth 15-30 years of age. These youth cannot be receiving unemployment benefits or be high school drop outs. They currently enter the program through the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSD). The co-op has also been hired by university departments to cater events (Griffin, 2004). </li></ul>
  16. 16. Glorious Garnish and Seasonal Salad Company / Fraser Common Farm Co-op (FCFC ) <ul><li>Fraser Common Farm Co-op’s (FCFC) twenty-five acres have been farmed for 20 years. Fraser Common Farm became a registered co-operative in 1977 and the land was also purchased that year. It has 10-acres under permaculture and organic production. FCFC was founded by members of the Community Alternatives Society who wanted to create a co-op community rather than just a housing co-op (Barbolet, 2004). </li></ul><ul><li>In the beginning 13 people lived on the original 10 acre farm in the original farmhouse. The neighbouring 10 acres was added to the co-op acreage in December 2001. Funding came from the CCEC Credit Union. The original farm was assessed at $100,000.00 more than the newly purchased parcel because it was certified as organic – showing that the financial sector has now recognised the extra value that the organic certification brings http://idrinfo.idrc.ca/archive/corpdocs/118987/Proceedings.doc . The farm is part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District’s &quot;Green Zone,&quot; an area in the Lower Mainland that includes agricultural lands, watersheds, conservation areas and a major park. http:// fic.ic.org/video/fraserfarminfo.html . </li></ul>
  17. 17. Langley Organic Growers Assoc, Glen Valley Farm <ul><li>Langley Organic Growers Association includes: Glen Valley Farm, Olera Farms, Glorious Salads, Friesen Farm and Myers Organic Farm and they sell flowers, vegetables and eggs. </li></ul><ul><li>The objective of Glen Valley Farm is to &quot;feed and educate present and future generations by cooperatively holding, stewarding and sustainably farming the land&quot; http:// www.newcity.ca/Pages/gvalley_farm.html . </li></ul><ul><li>The farm has set several goals that will help them achieve the success of their mission: </li></ul><ul><li>To provide certified organic food for Co-op members & the local community </li></ul><ul><li>To own and operate the farm cooperatively </li></ul><ul><li>To steward the entire farm for the mutual benefit of the land, wildlife and people </li></ul><ul><li>To model of sustainable living </li></ul><ul><li>To create opportunities to learn about sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>A number of committees are responsible for implementing the objectives of the co-op. </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-op (GVOFC ) <ul><li>The Glen Valley Organic Farm co-op (GVOFC) in Mt Lehman was formed by a group of individuals who wanted to own and operate the 50 acre Glen Valley Organic Farm that was being sold by Gregor and Amy Robertson in 1996 to prevent it from being returned to non-organic or other uses (www.gvofc.hub.org). </li></ul><ul><li>The Robertson couple had revived a non-functioning dairy farm and turned it into a productive certified organic vegetable, fruit and deer farm. </li></ul><ul><li>The farm is another example of community-based sustainable farming and its original certification was by BCARA (B.C. Association for Regenerative Agriculture), the certifying body for the Fraser Valley, the Lower Mainland and the Sunshine Coast regions. Before becoming a co-op itself, the farm was a member of Langley Organic Growers, a co-operative that supplies certified organic produce to the Vancouver Farmers Markets http:// www.newcity.ca/Pages/gvalley_farm.html . </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>The GVOFC farm team meets once a month over a shared meal and decides on the co-op goals through consensus. Their goals for the farm are: </li></ul><ul><li>1. to provide shareholders and the community with access to local certified organic food; </li></ul><ul><li>2. to steward the land in an ecologically-friendly way; </li></ul><ul><li>3. to provide models and learning opportunities about sustainable agriculture. </li></ul><ul><li>The farmers and supporters formed a society under the co-operative act, and purchased the land in December 1997 with the help of a low-interest mortgage from VanCity Savings and Credit Union. It began selling shares for $5000 to 70 shareholders. They had first leased the land while farming it and raised money with farm tours. The &quot;return on investment&quot; for a $5000 membership share is the keeping the land under organic production. Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-operative hosts an Open House on the third Sunday of each month. Farm tours start at 11:00am, with a potluck lunch at noon and a general meeting from 1:00 - 3:00pm http://www.bcen.bc.ca/bcerart/Vol10/organicf.htm . </li></ul>Glen Valley Organic Farm
  20. 20. Glen Valley Organic Farm <ul><li>The land is available as leases to landless farmers who share the same organic and stewardship goals as the owners. There are also producer leases: a prepared food maker called Hanna’s Hearth and the Circle of Life School Program hold this type of lease. </li></ul><ul><li>Grant Watson is one of the shareholders and has developed a web-based system that evolved from the buying club system (Neighbours Organic Weekly – nowbc.ca) (LaRivière, 2005). Members can place orders and pay online. Typically a member takes turns in buying the goods and providing the location for them to be picked up. </li></ul><ul><li>A similar organic co-op in one of the major agricultural areas of BC - Abbotsford is called the Directly Farm Fresh Organic Growers Marketing Co-op. It was incorporated in 1999 and markets vegetables. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Fraser Common Farm Co-op <ul><li>Several of Fraser Common Farm Co-op’s members are part-time staff of the non-profit Farm Folk/City Folk organization. </li></ul><ul><li>The farm's primary goals are: </li></ul><ul><li>1) to provide recreational and retreat opportunities for community members and others; </li></ul><ul><li>2) to do research and experimentation in organic farming and appropriate technology; </li></ul><ul><li>3) to produce quality in-season and nutritious food; </li></ul><ul><li>4) to work towards economic viability/self-reliance using a minimum of financial subsidies from the Community Alternatives Society; </li></ul><ul><li>5) to demonstrate land stewardship by designing and implementing sustainable systems; and </li></ul><ul><li>6) to educate farm residents. </li></ul><ul><li>The farm has layers, bees, nut and fruit trees, raspberries, several greenhouses, and a 3-acre market garden http:// fic.ic.org/video/fraserfarminfo.html .  </li></ul>
  22. 22. Fraser Common Farm Co-op <ul><li>Three people own the farm and have a lease agreement with the co-op. The co-op believes in paying its employees fair wages (higher than minimum wage). Co-op gardeners work 10-12 hour days, 40-50 hour weeks and they all receive a bonus (based on their hours worked) if the co-op is profitable.  </li></ul><ul><li>The co-op uses the the profit it generates in 3 ways: </li></ul><ul><li>1. bonuses to employees </li></ul><ul><li>2. invest in farm improvements </li></ul><ul><li>3. put back into larger community. </li></ul><ul><li>The farm most recently had 40-50 shareholders and is a working example of sustainable farming and biodiversity. It was the first location of Feast of Fields and is part of regular farm tours. Farm Folk/City Folk has its rural office on the farm (Barbolet, 2004). The 20-acre farm supports two small agriculture businesses: Herbs West (sells microgreens, herbs) and Glorious Garnish and Seasonal Salad Company. The farm’s livestock includes horses and poultry. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Glorious Garnish and Seasonal Salad <ul><li>The Glorious Garnish and Seasonal Salad Company Ltd started in 1985 when Heather Pritchard and Herb Barbolet, members of Fraser Common Farm Co-operative in Aldergrove, worked on a Canada Employment grant to &quot;research ways in which people could supplement their incomes on small landholdings in the Fraser Valley&quot; http://theseasonalexperience.ca/Gloriuos%20Garnish%20and%20Seasonal%20Salad%20Company.htm . </li></ul><ul><li>They first started supplying some of the Expo pavilion restaurants, then slowly built a clientele of restaurants across the city. Several years ago, Barbolet sold his share in Glorious Garnish to Pritchard, Susan Davidson and Dave McCandless (who shared the new Vancouver award for Best Local Producer in 2001) (Maw, 2001). </li></ul><ul><li>The current owners cultivate about seven of Fraser Common Farm Co-op's twenty acre land parcel in Aldergrove, growing under plastic to extend the growing season, keep the edible flowers dry and for winter protection.                </li></ul>
  24. 24. Glorious Salads <ul><li>The goal of Glorious Salads is to serve the upscale restaurant market trade. They also sell products at several local farmers markets including Trout Lake (East Vancouver) at the Langley Organic Growers stall. The owner-operators are in the process of transforming the business into a workers co-operative and hope to attract four young farmers to join and eventually take over the business. </li></ul><ul><li>            They also sell products from Friesen Farms and Glen Valley Organic Farm to supplement their product list. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2001 the co-op/Glorious Salads grossed $200,000.00. They have expanded their product line by bringing in another partner who sells flats of mini greens to restaurants. Greens are shipped ‘live’ and restaurants cut and use the greens as needed. A flat sells for about $17.00.  </li></ul>
  25. 25. Gender in the Growing Circle Food Co-op <ul><li>The first five interviews conducted in 2003 and interview #7 provided information on the role of co-operatives in supporting local or organic food production. The multi-stakeholder Growing Circle Food Co-operative on Salt Spring Island is fully involved in building an alternative food economy. The interviews also covered the topic female leadership in co-operatives in BC. </li></ul><ul><li>The founding producer members of the co-op wanted to promote locally grown food in order to promote a self-sustaining food economy on Salt Spring Island. Producer members were 17 in number at the beginning; this increased to 63 in the fall of 2002. </li></ul><ul><li>Local producers gained an income of $87,000 in 2002 which was a 57% increase over 2001 when producers earned between $20 to $4000 (Island Beet, Fall 2002; Island Beet, December 2001). In their newsletter (Issue 5) the co-op claimed that their efforts to support local producers had given them more competitors in the form of increased local produce at GVM, Thrifty’s and NatureWorks retail outlets, and therefore higher prices to pay to their producer members. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Gender & Multi-stakeholder investment <ul><li>The Growing Circle Food Co-op was started by women, including two farmers and has more female workers at the Ganges retail store and at times more women on the board - only women applied for the low paid jobs being offered. </li></ul><ul><li>In March 2000, Jana Thomas and Sherrie MacDonald recruited seven others to form the Growing Circle Food Co-op's original steering committee. </li></ul><ul><li>Jana’s start- up funding came from Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) and the former Ministry of Community Development, Co-operatives and Volunteers. and she says she does not know if she was successful in her funding because she was a woman or because she aimed to create local employment. </li></ul><ul><li>The steering committee spent nine months developing a business plan and surveying the community in order to determine the feasibility of a food co-operative. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Gender & multi-stakeholder <ul><li>During this time Jana also developed relationships with female mentors with CED and business experience. Jana felt that women have a level playing field in co-ops because they are not high prestige. </li></ul><ul><li>After considering other co-op models the multi-stakeholder model for the Growing Circle Food Co-op's was chosen as best suited to the needs of the community. </li></ul><ul><li>The committee met little resistance from other local business owners since they were not trying to compete with them. They were greatly supported by the organic community and the only nay-saying they heard was about the viability of the multi-stakeholder organizational structure. </li></ul><ul><li>It was claimed that Salt Spring Island has a culture that values who a person is rather than what they do; this culture may have supported the growth of this type of co-op. The women who started Growing Circle had goals of better employment for themselves, greater food security for the island population and support for sustainable agriculture. However this co-op is in its start-up phase and salaries are low. In 2001 a lifetime family membership cost $100. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Growing circle food co-op <ul><li>Purchases are made first from local (Salt Spring Island) certified organic producer members and secondly, from local non-certified members. Local non-certified organic producers provide information on their growing conditions to the co-op in lieu of paying high certification costs. They are paid the same for their produce as certified organic producers. If the products the co-op wants are not available from Salt Spring, the Co-operative buys from certified organic and non-certified organic farmers in Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. </li></ul><ul><li>If products are not available from these third and fourth sources, the Co-operative buys from local non-members. Finally, they buy certified organic from California. Initially, the store has relied on California for 90% or more of its produce. However, they aim to increase the amount of local and bio-regional produce they purchase by 10% or more each year. </li></ul><ul><li>In Fall 2002 (at the end of its second year of business) the co-op claimed that local products represented 21% of sales at the co-op (Island Beet, Fall 2002). In December 2001 and the summer of 2003 they claimed that 60% of their fresh produce was from the island (Island Beet Dec 2001; Elshibli, 2003). </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.islandfarmersalliance.org/index.php?module=articles&func=display&ptid=9&catid=37&aid=7 </li></ul>
  29. 29. The Growing Circle Food Co-op <ul><li>The livestock producers associated with the co-op are Duck Creek farm (cross bred Highland cattle and sheep), Food Forest farm (beef, chicken), Indigo farm (laying hens, ducks, bees), Knoth farm (poultry), Madrona Valley farm (lamb, eggs), Moonstruck organic cheese (cheese), Stowel Lake (chickens). </li></ul><ul><li>The Growing Circle Food Co-op has hosted an annual self-guided Farm Tour, in August, since 2001. It includes 14-16 vegetable, livestock and herb farms, greenhouses and a local flour mill, most with products for sale. 100 tickets were sold to the first farm tour in 2001 (Island beet, Dec 2001). </li></ul><ul><li>The multi-stakeholder co-op was the first of that type incorporated in BC (2001) and has approximately 600 members of three types: (~ 400) consumers, (~8) workers and (~100) producers. The co-op rules provide for each class of member-owners to elect two members from their class to sit on the Board of Directors. The remaining three seats are elected by the entire membership from any group of members. Producer-members are able to sell their fresh produce and value-added products through the retail sales grocery at prices which support the growth of their businesses. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Growing Circle Food Co-operative <ul><li>Ramona Scott, a well-known manager left the co-op in 2002 after two years. She started off as Produce Coordinator for the more than 50 local growers and producers and then became manager when the management structure switched from a co-ordinating team to a more formal structure (The Island Beet, Fall 2002). Lyn Cayo another well-known female co-op manager (of Nelson’s Kootenay Country Store Co-op) took over the role. </li></ul><ul><li>Sales of $313,000 were made in the first year (Elshibli, 2003). A child-care space was used by one of the original co-founders but has now been taken over as storage space. The staff worked hours that were described as “unable to support relationships”. The co-op describes itself as a retail food co-op that gives consumers a choice of organic, whole and natural food products that are primarily locally grown or produced. Member- growers and producers are paid fair prices for their produce (equivalent to the price of Californian food plus transportation costs) leading to the development of a strongly-rooted, year-round, sustainable local agriculture and a reduction in food miles and truck-derived air pollution. The Co-op also tries to give the consumers good value by charging less than the other retail outlets for food (Island Beet, Fall 2002) http://66.51.168.136/beta/bcca/results.asp?prod=organic%20food ). They hope that Salt Spring can provide more than the current 3% of its food needs in future. http://www.learningcentre.coop/co-ops_featured.php </li></ul>
  31. 31. Community Alternatives Co-op <ul><li>Community Alternatives Co-op has 53 members (kids to elderly) living in a cooperative community in Vancouver. Their key projects include: alternate family groupings, community-scale economics, meaningful employment, appropriate technology, consensus decision-making, and collective social action. They have started several projects including a co-operative restaurant, a gourmet garnish and salad company, a retail/wholesale muffin business has mentally disabled young people and adults as their clients, and a neighbouring communal housing cooperative. </li></ul><ul><li>They are part of the Community Alternatives Society which has 10 non-resident members, and which also owns the Fraser Common Farm http:// fic.ic.org/video/communityaltsinfo.html ; http://www.monad.com/camc/archive/Renamed/94.4.5.12.35.39.html </li></ul>
  32. 32. Wild Island Foods Co-operative <ul><li>Wild Island Foods Co-operative ran the island’s only scratch bakery and commercial eat-in restaurant in downtown Sointula, Malcolm Island. Wild Island Foods Co-operative is headed by a woman; it was set up by community members with little management experience (Kathleen Gablemann interview April 15, 2004). In 2004 there were 138 members. The multi-stakeholder co-op (consumers, producers, employees and investors are all members) plans to open a federally registered food-processing facility and R&D component that will allow entrepreneurial members of Malcolm Island to add value to available seafood and wild and cultivated fruits and vegetables for sale in commercial centres elsewhere in BC http://web.uvic.ca/bcics/anthill/v3/i1/malcolm_island.htm as retrieved on 18 Jun 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Their mandate is to support regional entrepreneurs who are ready to process and market their food products. The plan is to operate a &quot;Business Incubator&quot; model to provide training in Micro Food Processing for cottage industries on Malcolm Island. It is using its local knowledge and expertise to build new economic enterprises using traditional and non-traditional approaches to food processing. </li></ul><ul><li>http://web.uvic.ca/bcics/anthill/v3/i1/malcolm_island.htm as retrieved on 18 Jun 2005 </li></ul>
  33. 33. Wild Island Foods Co-operative <ul><li>A big fundraising drive was held in 2003 that raised $37,000 from the community. That money was used to hire two female managers who were supposed to manage for one year and then hire a replacement (Interview by Kathleen Gablemann and Laura Sjolie April 14 2004). However there were debts to pay, hiring and training staff were more expensive than anticipated and not all of the skilled labour could be obtained on the island. Some of the government funding obtained was tied to hiring labour and other short term issues. They planned to obtain a liquor license in order to serve alcohol with the food especially in the tourist season (Interview by Kathleen Gablemann and Laura Sjolie April 14 2004). The co-op had to close temporarily in Fall 2003 because after the tourist season ended it was not making enough to cover the bills; however they held 3 fundraising dinners to pay off some bills. </li></ul><ul><li>Wild Island Foods Co-operative has obtained funding from the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) – its Worker Co-op Fund encourages employee ownership by providing assistance with business planning and training (GEO Newsletter 2001). </li></ul><ul><li>Wild Island also got funding from the Western Economic Diversification – Community Economic Adjustment Initiative (CEAI) - $192,000 non-repayable contribution. The total budget for the project was stated as $702,000 with a local community investment of $80,000. It was supposed to create 18 full-time jobs and support 10 cottage industries. Sales were supposed to start at $270,000 and increase to $320,000 in the second year of operation (The Barometer, 2000). VanCity invested $30,000 in shares in the co-op that was supposed to be used for matching funding (Interview by Kathleen Gablemann and Laura Sjolie April 14 2004). However the matching funding proposal did not succeed and this money was used to set up the bakery operation. </li></ul>
  34. 34. & co-op marketing <ul><li>BSE and the closure of the US border gave co-op marketing and processing a legitimacy that it did not have before. Farmers have been investing their resources into co-op slaughterhouses. This approach is seen as a way of gaining some independence from slaughterhouses based in the US which could not take ruminants during the 25-month mad-cow closure of the border. Co-ops would also provide fair prices and have greater control over their incomes. Many of these initiatives are being taken by non-organic farmers since they were the ones who were most heavily exposed to losses. </li></ul><ul><li>During the border closure boneless beef of less than 30 months could be sold as boxed beef and $1.9 billion, less than half the amount sold in 2002 (Spencer, 2005). There was an over-supply of 0.5 million to 1 million cattle (Tuck, 2004). Packing plants based in Canada made windfall profits during this period by paying farmers low prices and then selling the meat at near–regular or high prices to consumers. Packing houses also benefited from some of the government support programs installed to help beef farmers. For example Lakeside packers received $33 million in government payouts because it had its own herds (Spencer, 2005). </li></ul>
  35. 35. BSE’s economic impact <ul><li>Canadian processors slaughtered 26% more cattle than before the border closed. Many of the Canadian-based plants are owned by American conglomerates. Cargill is based in Minneapolis, and Tyson Foods has its headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas. XL Foods and Lakeside Packers are the other processors that have reaped an increase in pre tax profits of 281% since May 2003 (Spencer, 2005). </li></ul><ul><li>The loss of jobs on the US side of the border was approximately 7000. </li></ul><ul><li>Cattle producers had asked for and received substantial amounts of government support even though the Cattlemen’s Association has always been a supporter of the “free market” and “small government” (Wilson, B. 1990). </li></ul><ul><li>The Alberta government spent $30 million to help cattle producers find new international markets and this was supposed to be matched by $50 million in federal government support (Spencer, 2005). </li></ul>
  36. 36. Co-op slaughtering <ul><li>Peace Country Tender Beef Co-op Ltd., in Dawson Creek is a planned new-generation multi-species (ruminant) “custom kill” slaughter-plant co-op being built on land bought from the city. In order to build a plant that meets current CFIA standards they need $7.2 million. Their plan is to obtain 30% ($2.16 million) from members, 20% ($1.44 million) from investment capital and 50% ($3.6 million) from loans. They were working on financing from a credit union in Prince George in May, 2005 but had not obtained any federal financing (Rusak, 2005). At the beginning of 2005, 600 producers had bought a minimum of ten $60 shares meaning that they could deliver 10 cattle annually. The plant will slaughter 1,000 head/week with pasture to plate tracking, 100% BSE testing and a biodigester electric generating system (Rusak, 2005; Canadian Cattlemen, 2005) http:// www.agcanada.com/custompages/stories_story.aspx?mid =31&id=498 ). http://www.dawsoncreek.ca/news/documents/IntheNewsVol12005_000.pdf . </li></ul>
  37. 37. Co-op slaughtering <ul><li>A few Alberta cattle ranchers and the British Columbia Livestock Producers Co-op bought the mothballed Blue Mountain packing plant in Salmon Arm and got it approved by the CFIA. Their federally inspected operation is called Rangeland Beef Processors/ Blue Mountain Packers. They started slaughtering cattle late in the Fall of 2004. They sold 300 shares worth $5,000 each to raise the funding. </li></ul><ul><li>Shareholders were promised dividends on profits after 2 years, and a transferable right to ship 25 head per year for each share. Debt capital is supplied by the Farm Credit Corp. The operation was operating at 40 to 50 head per day at the beginning of 2005 and planned to increase to a maximum capacity of 250 per day, or 1,250 for a 5-day week (Canadian Cattlemen, 2005 http:// www.agcanada.com/custompages/stories_story.aspx?mid =31&id=498 ) </li></ul>
  38. 38. Canadian-controlled slaughtering <ul><li>The government pledged $66 million in loan guarantees to support processing operations (Barrionuevo and Becker, 2005). Small scale processing got funding from government – the co-op development initiative, was quite high profile in its efforts to recruit members and develop the program. </li></ul><ul><li>The Federal Government is offering funding for feasibility studies, business plans and other start up costs under the $1 million Ruminant Slaughter Facility Assessment program. </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada was to contribute $99,990 or half the costs. There was also the $25,000 available through Planning and Assessment for Value-Added Enterprises (www.ccnmathews.com/news/releases/show.jsp?action=showRelease&actionFor=552350) </li></ul>
  39. 39. Conclusion - building an alternative food economy in BC <ul><li>There are groups of people in organic farming and in the co-operative business world working together to build an alternative economic future built on the values that they share. These values include recognising a link between health food and healthy bodies, environmentally-sound agriculture and fair trade. </li></ul><ul><li>Co-ops and organic stakeholders claim that buying locally has a multiplier effect in that the money recycles within the community and benefits other businesses and civic society rather than becoming profits for multi-nationals. Anti-globalization forces have contributed to the growth of this alternative economy. Its growth has also been led by negative forces such as BSE, foot and mouth, avian flu and other food scares linked to industrial agriculture. </li></ul>
  40. 40. Conclusion - co-ops in alternative agriculture <ul><li>Co-ops have worked alongside organic farmers to build an alternative food economy because they have common ideals and visions of the future. </li></ul><ul><li>They both support the idea of buying goods and services locally this keeping resources within the community. This practice also retains control over incomes and thus futures in the hands of the local community and not in the hands of distant, uncaring conglomerates. It also builds community, stability and social capital. </li></ul><ul><li>Both co-ops and organic farmers are working with the triple bottom line rather than traditional economic thought. They factor in the land and environment and social factors like employee welfare and social justice into their business practices. Also important is limiting food miles or the distance that food travels from farm to plate. </li></ul>

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