This FAQ is available for download as a double-sided PDF. Click here to download.
What’s with the name?
“Skookum” gives us a good west-coast flavour; it comes from the Chinook Jargon trading language means “strong, or well-made”. We like these connotations!
“Food”: we’re all about food — growing it, storing it, and sharing it!
“Provisioners” are people who provide; who take steps to create a better future; and who put aside food for themselves others. It suggests a sense of community, which is very important to us.
“Cooperative” because that’s our legal structure and we strongly subscribe to the cooperative model as a way to build an equitable and sustainable community of people who care about each other’s well-being.
What is the purpose of Skookum?
The purpose of Skookum is to give our members access to the skills, knowledge, and resources that will help them provide for their own food needs, those of their families, friends, neighbours, and others in the community. We are all about empowering people to grow, process, preserve, and share food; and we believe that the best way to do this is to get people working together. Sharing land, seeds, labour, ideas, tools, and time will allow our members to save money, learn new skills, and get opportunities to work with other people and to put more local food on the table.
What type of cooperative is Skookum?
Legally, we are a community service cooperative, which is BC’s term for a not-for-profit cooperative. This means that no member may profit individually from any profit we might generate, but all members can benefit from the activities of the cooperative. We have a strong commitment to donating and contributing to the general community as well. We can hire people own equipment or land.
We are a not-for-profit cooperative but we do not have charitable tax status. This means that while we can happily accept cash or in-kind donations, we cannot issue tax receipts. We decided not to pursue charitable status so that we could more easily advocate for local food initiatives, without the restrictions placed on charities.
How does membership in Skookum work?
You can become a member by filling out and submitting a membership application, paying $20 for one membership share in the cooperative. Once the board of directors accepts your application, you are a member and you will receive a hand-signed share certificate. This certificate is a legal document and can be redeemed at face value if you ever choose to withdraw from the cooperative.
Membership in Skookum gives you the right to cast a vote on any resolution at regular special meetings called by the board, and to participate in our cooperative projects. Individual projects will have their own related terms, fees, conditions, and requirements. You may hold as many shares in the coop as you like, but you still only have one vote.
Skookum has a board of seven directors, and any member is eligible to become a director by election at a general meeting, so long as their membership application was approved at least 30 days before the date of that meeting. The board also has the power to appoint directors to fill a vacancy.
Joint memberships are limited to two people who can purchase one membership share together and have only one vote between them. Only one member in a joint membership may be a director at any one time.
What’s in it for me?
We plan to manage projects which will fulfill some part of our purposes. As a member, you will help determine which projects we pursue, and all projects will depend on members working together. For example, we might decide to get together to grow potatoes in common. Together we will share the costs of buying seed potatoes, amendments, tools, and all the other supplies we might need. Participating members will share their labour, then we’ll divvy up the resulting potatoes, with a share going to people in need in the region.
Our projects can be about producing food, processing or preserving food, about buying tools equipment to be commonly owned managed, or about anything that contributes to our purposes. Our imagination is the only limit!
Once we have a number of projects like this, our members will be more self-reliant and will also be part of a community of kindred spirits who are taking action to develop our local food economy.