Organic food co-op settles into new home
Nelson’s Organic Green Grocer, which was bought by a community co-operative in May last year, recently moved from the Tasman St premises where it had traded for almost 30 years, to our new store in Ecoland at 31 Vanguard Street.
Thanks to careful planning, and amazing support from our members and the Nelson Environment Centre folk, the big move went like a dream.
Teams did the stock-take and pack-up, dismantled shelving, moved everything through town in a fleet of vehicles that was quite a sight to see, and fed the volunteers with delicious organic food over the weekend.
We even organised a garage sale and clean-up afterwards. Everyone pulled together and supported their co-op, like a family.
The alliance with Nelson Environment Centre is exciting, but we realise that because organic food is seen as more expensive, some people may feel an organic food shop right next to the Kai Rescue operation is a bit awkward.
We look at it this way, Kai Rescue supports people who need a hand up, the co-op supports people producing goods in a sustainable way which is better for the environment. In the long run, that supports us all.
On that thorny matter of the cost of organic food, one of the main aims of the co-op is to make organic food more affordable.
The good news is the cost of many organic items is getting closer to non-organic versions of similar quality, reflecting increasing demand for nutrient-rich, sustainably-produced food without the pesticide residues and preservatives that food produced with only profit in mind tends to have.
We now recognise that heavilyprocessed food, although seeming cheap, has significant hidden costs. Cleaning up our rivers, dealing with waste, and the medical and social costs of diet-related illness all eventually have to be paid for.
The co-op is keen to support local producers, providing an outlet for low-mileage food in a similar way to the farmers’ markets. Supporting local suppliers also helps to make our region more resilient.
In a world filled with uncertainty, some independence from the ‘‘just in time’’ supermarket supplies and their reliance on a worldwide transport system, is worth preserving.
The co-op has volunteers working alongside paid staff, helping to reduce costs and keep prices lower. As a ‘thank you’, these volunteers can receive a discount on their own purchases in the shop. Volunteers do not have to be members of the co-op.
If you are interested in helping out, leave your contact details at the shop or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The monthly bulk-buy scheme for our community owners gives a whopping 20 per cent discount on a growing list of items.
It’s lovely to see so many of our old customers in the new Vanguard Street shop as well as lots of fresh faces.
You can become part of the coop family by buying a household share for a one-off payment of $365, which entitles you to vote and be part of the decision- making.
By being an owner, you also receive 5 per cent discount every time you shop, 10 per cent on purchases over $100, and 20 per cent discount under the monthly bulk-buy scheme.
Owners place a bulk order online, these are collated and once the goods are in store, we let you know and you come in to pack your own orders.
This is a good time for socialising, making the shop very lively, and lots of fun.
Owners support the co-op in lots of ways, not just through shop sales.
We value our technical support team and their tireless efforts to keep things humming. In the morning volunteers get the shop ready for action and then more volunteers pack it down at night.
There will be joint ventures with the Environment Centre team like working bees to create a permaculture garden at the front of the building, and there are other ideas to green-up and beautify the car park area.
There is also scope for interested people to do research on products and systems.
Alison Ramsay and Julia Heffter, staff of the co-op, buy their weekly groceries.
Jaqueline Gibson stacks up the organic bananas.