Ecologistics is now the proud fiscal sponsor for the Paso Food Cooperative, a North County startup that was begun in March 2013 by Montgomery Norton. According to Greg Ellis, one of the new organizers, 50 people showed up at the kickoff meeting and there was a lot of excitement. “There is a very resilient food system in Paso Robles,” said Greg. “There are many artisan food preparers and organic growers, but no established organization to meet their needs. We were looking for positive economic models that would address environmental stewardship and economic equality,” Greg explains, “and a co-op was the perfect model for that.”
Cooperatives are recognized businesses in the State of California, which are owned solely by their members rather than shareholders. Decisions are made by a board of directors that is elected by the members. A general manager makes day to day decisions.
So far the Paso Food Co-op has done some of the groundwork, including incorporating as a cooperative and preparing a business plan. “We need a minimum of 500 members to have the initial capital to open a store,” said Greg. “We currently have 70 people signed up.” The fledgling cooperative has developed a strong relationship with SLO Natural Foods Co-op, who is providing advice and encouragement. Paso Food Co-op hopes to have a store with a similar size as SLO’s, about 4,500 square feet. There will be a strong focus on locally grown food and space will be provided for community education.
If you are interested in joining the Paso Food Cooperative visit their web site and leave your contact information or call (805) 727-3745. Tax deductible donations for the Co-op’s educational programs can be made to Ecologistics, Inc. and sent to: 633 Ramona Ave., Space 103, Los Osos, CA 93402 or on our web site.