Or­ganic food co-op set­tles into new home

The Leader (Nelson) - - FRONT PAGE - JAC­QUE­LINE GIB­SON

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 info@nel­sonor­gan­ic­coop.nz 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.

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