[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
[ << Previous 20 ]
[ << Previous 20 ]
|Tuesday, May 5th, 2009|
|Wednesday, February 18th, 2009|
|Wednesday, February 4th, 2009|
Food News in Vancouver
In combination with the Columbian Article of January 21
and the lack of a date for a second annual meeting on the official VFC calendar
, I thought I might mention some other terrific food resources for Vancouver.
First up is Glenn Grossman's Clark County Food and Farm blog
over at Blogspot. Glenn Grossman started a southwest Washington slow food group a few years ago, and has worked hard since then to encourage and promote better food systems for southwest Washington.
Another is a calendar of food events
and list of other food calendars that I shall be inviting a few folks to add to.
Third is a site called VancouverFood.net
which I hope will be part of a general project to provide publicity, support and connections to all the great food events (and a few food skills) going on in southwest Washington. The goal is to provide a resource for folks to think about food and take more control of their lives for less fear and more pleasure in the coming hard economic times.
In addition to coordinating the county-wide food calendar, VFN hopes to feature local farms and food resources. Articles in the last month include yesterday's on building a basic pantry
, some book reviews and features on local supplies vendor Thrifty Feed and Garden
, resource Urban Farm School
and a simple recipe for a quick and delicious honey wine
. A full list of articles
is also available.
The wheels seem to have fallen off of the Vancouver Food Co-op, but that is no reason that people should stop working together for better food choices, wherever they happen to be in this economy or their lives.
|Saturday, September 20th, 2008|
VFC News 2008-09 September 2008
Following the depressing and contentious owner meeting of August 27
, things have gone from bad to worse for the Vancouver Food Cooperative, as was screamingly evident to anyone who has taken part in the recent Food Co-Op 500 webinars
The September 10th session was on the CDS "four cornerstones" model
, with Bill Gesnner
. Under this model VFC is in a worse position than it was a year ago, as the August 27 meeting clearly indicated. VFC's vision has been diluted from a modest store in a clearly defined area to a larger store in a much more ambiguous area, nearly ten times as large as the original "primary market area." Rather than site south of 39th and west of Main, they are now looking at the area south of 78th Street and west of Andresen Road, where there are already several grocery stores. The second cornerstore of talent has been severely depleted, as key volunteers have been mistreated and lied to. In addition to losing the only interim board members with business development experience, they have also lost five of nine elected board members within four months and a competent newsletter editor. Under the guidance of founders Heather Lehman and Sunrise O'Mahoney, existing systems for basic tasks such as board communication and web publishing were dismantled, as was the only available owner forum (VFC-Discussion), while recommendations and work on new systems by the technical committee were completely ignored, further eroding confidence in what remains of talent and vision. On the capital front, things are even worse. By making the vision larger and more ambiguous, VFC has created a $1.5 million project even as it abandons previous, more modest goals. VFC is spending money faster than it can raise it, has voted to let itself spend owner equity for development, while utterly failing in the previously-stated goal of 600 owners by the end of 2008 and 1000 to open by the end of 2009. Not only will VFC fail to meet its lower goal of 300 owners by the end of 2008, but they are actually *losing* owners and do not have the cash on hand to provide full refunds to those who have purchased a share. Given their noncompliance with state securities law, this places them in a very bad capital situation indeed.
The September 17th session by Stuart Reid on "skills and Tools for the organizing stage " was equally depressing, as those familiar with VFC's progress will recognize. On clear issues of organization, transparency, honesty and accountability, VFC has failed mightily in 2008, in ways that shall become apparent. The Moxie Village debacle
is a terrific case in point. Interim president Sunrise O'Mahoney entered into private and unauthorized negotiations which could have moved the store location from west Vancouver to west Camas, nearly thirteen miles away, hiding this fact from other board members for fear it would hurt her faction in upcoming elections. Instead, this duplicity disgusted key board members and alienated key volunteers, completely destroying trust within the organization. When owners called for a special meeting to address this, the board moved to avoid a minimize such a meeting, even going so far as to accuse a petitioner of criminal activity for legally announcing it. VFC is now a "low-trust" organization, with very great credibility problems, which are about to be become legal ones.
The September 24 session shall be on legal issues facing cooperatives, and VFC has several of these in play, the most serious of which is its violation of state securities law. As I've explained elsewhere
, VFC had written its share subscription agreement in a particular way and has performed a variety of legal steps out of order. Concerned about this and convinced that Sunrise O'Mahoney would not come into compliance with state law so long as I was on the board, I resigned from the board in February, 2008. My hope was to spur the interim board to prompt action, but from ignorance or arrogance they have not done so. Beginning in June of 2007, VFC has accepted money for shares it was legally not entitled to issue under its own articles of incorporation, although it filed for a securities exemption with the Washington Department of Financial Institutions to do so. Even after I drove to Olympia to ensure that the articles were revised, VFC has refused to accept share agreements or issue shares. They even went so far as to pass bylaws which they assert give them the right NOT to refund shares in accordance with state law, and I think I can predict how *that* will turn out.
I am very sad to see that the promise of the VFC is dead
. I just hope that the rank incompetence and idiocy of a few does not destroy the hopes and opportunity of many.
|Sunday, August 31st, 2008|
Special Member Meeting 27 Aug 2008
A special meeting for owners in the Vancouver Food Cooperative was held on Wednesday, August 27, 2008. Beginning at 6:30 pm in the downstairs hall at Fort Vancouver Regional Library, 1007 East Mill Plain Boulevard, Vancouver, Washington 98663), the meeting was attended by about 75 people, despite a total lack of mention on the official calendar
and the board's refusal to send out the required postal notice.
A summary may be found at http://www.vfcbizplan.com/vfcmasterplan
but essentially the remaining board (four of nine elected, with one appointee) stated that:
- Possible locations have been expanded but limited to south of 78th Street and west of Andresen Road. This absolutely rules out stunts such as the secret Moxie Village nonsense that Sunrise had privately pursued, and I would guess that they are hoping by this change to place it at the previous WSU extension site, the former county poor farm.
- Any motions to move outside of this area would involve additional paid market studies
- The proposed store would be approximately 4000 square foot retail (6000 TSF) and cost approximately $1.5 million to build
- The owner goal for the end of 2008 has been dropped from 600 to 300
- Owner loan programs will be considered at approximately 300 owners
Those familiar with cooperative development will note that they basically presented Bill Gessner's "development 101" slides from last year, which elucidate the CDS "four corner" model
. Having received a mailing from petitioners as per RCW 24.06.105, a number of owners asked about smaller stores or other models, but this board is not interested in discussing those at this time. A suggestion that they should visit successful start-ups such as the co-op in Yelm
were warmly accepted but shall be ignored.
I am not hopeful
More at http://VFCBizPlan.com
|Tuesday, August 19th, 2008|
Moment of Truth @ FVRL, 6:30pm Wed 27aug08
The Vancouver Food Cooperative shall hold a meeting to discuss concrete plans for a cooperative grocery store this coming Wednesday, August 27, 2008. To be held downstairs at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library, 1007 E. Mill Plain Blvd, the meeting begins at 6:30 pm and is open to the general public according to FVRL policy. Called last May by owners under RCW 24.06.100, this special meeting is for the board to provide a progress report to owners, including a publicly-available version of the business and marketing plan from now until opening of a retail store. To meet the owners’ petition, this plan shall include a clear branding, marketing and financing strategy, with benchmarks indicated in terms of members and/or dollars needed to successfully open a storefront.
Below are my comments in advance of such a meeting.
Stand and Deliver: An Honest Proposal for the Current VFC Board
by Rory Bowman, Petitioning Owner
From 2003-2007 the stated goal of the Vancouver Food Cooperative was to open a modest grocery store in west Vancouver. After a variety of false starts, NWCDC was paid for a feasibility study which indicated that this was possible, VFC incorporated and an interim board of directors began an ownership drive in July of 2007. Having agreed not to identify specific locations until there was at least $100,000 cash on hand, they also approved "pro forma" financial projections from Bill Gessner and a market area study from Pete Davis, both nationally-recognized consultants with Cooperative Development Services. These reports were scheduled for delivery by the end of January, 2008, and would help complete a business plan draft narrative from September of 2007 in time for the February annual meeting. That did not happen.( Read more...Collapse )
|Wednesday, June 25th, 2008|
|Sunday, May 25th, 2008|
|Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008|
|Sunday, April 20th, 2008|
Vegetarian Potluck this Thursday at Marshall Center
Northwest VEG, a regional nonprofit organization, invites the public to attend an informal talk featuring Sunrise O'Mahoney from the proposed Vancouver Food Co-op and Sarah Cline from People's Food Co-op in Portland. O'Mahoney and Cline will discuss the benefits that co-ops provide to the community.
The event will take place from 6:30-9pm on Thursday, April 24, 2008 at Marshall Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA 98663. For more info please phone (360) 694-FOOD
This talk is preceded by a vegetarian potluck dinner at 6:30 p.m. for anyone who wishes to attend. Please bring a vegan or vegetarian main dish, salad or dessert, a card listing its ingredients, and plates and utensils for your use. If you come alone, figure the amount to serve 4-6; increase the amount 4 servings for each additional person in your party/family. Northwest VEG potlucks are alcohol-free events.
The Vancouver Food Cooperative (VFC) is a not-for-profit business planning to open a grocery store in west Vancouver, Washington, to provide accessible nutrition and local foods at a fair price. As a community-run business with a broad ownership base, our goal is to strengthen the entire community: shoppers, vendors, and growers alike. The cooperative started in 2003 with a group of volunteers and has since incorporated and is governed by an interim board. For more information: http://VancouverFood.coop
Northwest VEG seeks to educate and empower people to make vegetarian choices for a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate world. For more information, please visit http://www.nwveg.org
|Wednesday, February 27th, 2008|
|Wednesday, January 16th, 2008|
|Monday, January 7th, 2008|
|Sunday, November 30th, 2008|
|Saturday, November 3rd, 2007|
|Thursday, November 1st, 2007|
|Saturday, October 6th, 2007|
|Monday, September 10th, 2007|
Columbian Editorial in Support of VFC!
In our view: Grocery Gains
Monday, September 10, 2007
Co-op could bring needed shoppingopportunities to Vancouver's west side
Here's your chance to be entrepreneurial, even if you didn't think you had an entrepreneurial bone in your body. The opportunity comes with very little risk, given its low cost. And while the return on the investment might not ever be counted in dollars or cents, it could improve the quality of life in Vancouver.
More at http://columbian.com/opinion/news/09102007news194916.cfm
|Friday, September 7th, 2007|
|Sunday, August 26th, 2007|
Stores Snub Local Farmers
Yet another reason why we need more smaller, locally-owned stores:
From Friday's Portland Tribune
Stores snub local farmers
Distribution quirks, organic hurdles put squeeze on growers seeking markets
More at http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=118790103076479700
New Seasons' response is at http://blogs.newseasonsmarket.com/
I happen to think that New Seasons is doing a pretty good job on this one, but the general point that our food distribution system is out of whack. I had a fellow in Woodland explain to me once that to sell his rhubarb at the local Safeway he would have to deliver at least forty pounds at a time to a distribution center in Salem. I don't think that NSM is a villain here, but the tale does demonstrate how our food distribution center is often very out of whack.