Members’ Table Scraps

At the Skookum AGM in April, our crack team of Event Organizers came up with some great ideas to coax out some of our members own thoughts on worthy projects for the cooperative. Each person attending was given a card with the image of a vegetable on it. Then, when the time came, we split up according to the vegetable image. And, with the tables draped with ‘scraps’ of kraft paper and pens, we got to work. Below is a transcription of those ideas collected that evening.

We welcome even more ideas (and the energy to back it up) from those who attended and from the general membership. Just leave a comment below even if you support one or a few of the projects listed here; we’d like to know.

Annual General Meeting Members’ Table Notes (April 27, 2012)

  • Food processing for value-added projects (eg. Sundried tomatoes, blackberry chipotle sauce)
  • Stanley Darland: Sausage-maker
  • Workshop: Kitchen Aid (3hour workshop)
  • Employment for people with disabilities (NACL)
  • Nut-cracking Machine
  • Maple Syrup making
  • Pollination and Cross-pollination workshop
  • What you can do with blackberries
  • Hydraulic ram pump demo
  • Slug-killing by frogs/workshop by Colleen (donation by laughter )
  • Wood-chipper, chainsaw, gas-fired cement mixer
  • Making fruit vinegars (workshop)
  • Specific fruit and vegetable selection for PR region (workshop; prepared seed collection for this)
  • Develop a “Skookum Almanac” with variety of tips, anecdotes, etc. on growing exotic or unusual products
  • Elder stories about farming, food-saving, growing in the area; invite them and others to record—maybe a lunch event; maybe salmon lunch
  • Bulk-buying of plants/trees;
  • Meat-grinder
  • Organic pest-control workshop
  • Apple Cider and Vinegar-making workshop
  • Wild-crafting workshop
  • Active involvement in edible garden Tour
  • Skookum Marketing board: package food, prepare food, clean food and prep for market
  • Market stall for co-op members at the Open Air market(s), where people can drop off produce, a few people will clean and prep and one person will sell it
  • Small-scale member-driven produce sales (via Abundant Pantry or via short-term announcements via email or facebook; i.e. “I have a box of chard” + cost or barter possibilities.
  • Relationship building with PRREDS; project where they pay for soil analysis in the area to find out what would grow well where; make this info public.
  • Relationship with job creation entities (Career Link/ Community Futures, etc.) to develop Food Hub (including long-term cold storage facilities for year-round storage needs)
  • Community cold-freeze; people can buy meat in quantity and rent a small part of a large freezer to keep this
  • Community smoke-house
  • Couple with private company (Reliable Rentals) to ensure they get a certain number of requests for a certain garden-related machine, maybe a renters’ club; benefits include that they would buy and maintain the equipment
  • Tool share- Nola has rototiller for proposed tool library; share use for other equipment;
  • Repair/Repurpose classes
  • Carpentry workshop—how to build stuff (for gals)
  • Explore possibility to partner with VIU for their asset-based community development: contact Alison Taplay
  • Turn the cards (our business cards) into stickers or magnets
  • Silke’s or another retail outlet (?  Not sure what this means—buy Silke’s?- Ed.)
  • Mapping commercial kitchens
  • Blackberry products

2 thoughts on “Members’ Table Scraps”

  1. Great ideas–especially looking forward to the ninja guard frog workshop for slug vanquishment.

    The Silke’s/retail idea (3rd from bottom in the above list) came from my table and got lost in translation. I remarked that since Silke’s Organic Market has closed, Skookum should explore the feasibility of opening a retail co-op store, location to-be-determined–*not* buying or moving into the former Silke’s space. My fantasy is that it would be predominantly an organic/local grocery store/deli, but possibly also a hardware/garden center/tool rental store, locally-made clothing & arts, music venue/open mic in the deli, and community center for holding meetings and classes that tie into sustainability, health, and cooperative business and living.

    And I might as well put this out there: Maybe even other like-minded businesses would be interested in joining forces with us and transitioning to a cooperative business structure under the Skookumbrella. (I’ve started this conversation with one such biz owner in the area, and they’ve expressed some interest in exploring things further.) Could be a win-win situation for all concerned, helping to secure the financial clout and physical presence for local farmers, food processors, and artisans to have a more sustainable outlet for their products, a stronger retail presence for gainful employment, and a more centralized place for folks to get their healthy, sustainable groceries and other necessities.

    Jacqueline and I are still members of our totally excellent food co-op in Bellingham, Community Food Co-op, and they pretty much do all that, except for the hardware. They’ve been doing so well, they opened a second store in 2009. If you’ve never been there, perhaps a field trip is in order. Bellingham’s a great town and a leader in many aspects of sustainable business, farming, and food.

    For a taste of what that co-op does, and what we could do up here, see their website at For more in-depth stuff, go to, scroll down to the bottom of the page and see a really great series of articles under the heading “2012 International Year of Cooperatives–Newsletter articles.”

    Could Skookum be a cornerstone, a major mover & shaker of a sustainable economy in the Powell River region? See this link for what Community Food Co-op’s Vision, Mission, Values say about that in their part of the world:

    Until you get down for a visit to Bellingham, you can always check out another great food co-op, Kootenay Country Co-op in Nelson, where I’m also a member:

    Another great resource is the Cooperative Grocers’ Information Network (, including the excellent and free How to Start a Co-op Manual (

    I’ve been on their main listserve for probably 15 years now, ever since I was on the board of North Country People’s Co-op back in Colville, WA. Sadly, that co-op is no longer around–it went belly up in 2002 after being a community hub for 25 years–but there are many other success stories on the CGIN website, and on a pretty much daily basis I see managers, staff, and occasionally board members networking and sharing news and advice with each other. It really is a cooperative, supportive group.

    All of which is to say, if anyone would like to join me–with the Board’s blessing–in exploring this idea further, perhaps writing a grant for a feasibility study, please get in touch, and we can take it to the Board. You can reach me at or 604-483-9902.

    Keep up the great work, fellow Skooksters!

  2. I wasn’t able to attend the meeting, and I appreciate being able to see what transpired; thank you.

    I was inspired by the ideas – for me in particular the idea of a one-stop-shop for many of the elements that factor into a low-impact life: food, clothing, equipment. My main concern, as someone with autoimmune issues, is the number of meetings and/or governance issues I need to deal with in a co-op model. We need ways of providing input that don’t necessarily rely on face-to-face meetings. (And – my own bias here – I don’t like Facebook’s info-gathering ethics and so I stay away from Facebook-based social networking.) I hope that we could find a way to manage all the issues of a very diverse mandate without being overwhelmed with administration. And I *am* willing to spend some of my precious energy to figure out how that would work. Both the blog post and Mark Huddleston’s comment are tremendous food for thought.

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