Notice of Annual General Meeting

The Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is holding its first Annual General Meeting on Wednesday June 23, starting at 7:00 PM. The meeting will take place in room 150 of Vancouver Isl University, located at 3960 Selkirk Avenue, Powell River, BC. Refreshments will be served.

At this meeting, the board of directors will report on progress to date. Members will elect a new board of seven directors to take over from the first appointed board, which has served since our incorporation was granted on April 6, 2010. We will have your membership share certificate. We will set aside time for a Q/A sessiondiscussion of the cooperative’s currentfuture projects.

The directors will also bring forward a special resolution. See below for the textexplanation of this resolution.

We hope that all our members will be able to attendparticipate in this first Annual General Meeting. We allow proxy voting for any member who would have to travel by air or water to attend this meeting. If you need to fill out a proxy form, please download one from here or pick up a hard copy at our registered address (4486 Marine Avenue, Powell River, BC, CANADA V8A 2K2).

We look forward to seeing you there!

On behalf of the board of directors,

David Parkinson, President

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Special resolution

Be it resolved that Rules 157, 158,159 of the Rules of the Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative (“the Association”) be amended as follows:

  • to permit notice to be given by email to a director, member, or any other person (addition of Rule 157 (e));
  • to permit notice to be given to the Association by email (addition of Rule 158 (d));
  • to stipulate that a notice given by email is deemed receipt at the time the notice is sent by email (addition of Rule 159 (4)).

Notice to directors, members,other persons

157 Unless otherwise specified in the Act or these Rules, any notice required to be given to a director, member, or any other person must be in writingis sufficiently given if it is
(a) delivered personally,
(b) delivered to the person’s last known address, as recorded in the Association’s register of members or other record of the Association,
(c) mailed by prepaid mail to the person’s last known address, as recorded in the Association’s register of members or other record of the Association,
(d) sent to the person by facsimile transmission to a telephone number provided for that purpose, or
(e) sent to the person by email to an email address provided for that purpose, or
(f) served in accordance with Rule 164 or 165.

Notice to Association

158 Unless otherwise specified in the Act or these Rules, any notice required to be given to the Association must be in writingis sufficiently given if it is
(a) delivered to the registered office of the Association,
(b) mailed to the registered office of the Association by prepaid mail,
(c) sent by facsimile transmission to a telephone number provided for that purpose, or
(d) sent by email to an email address provided for that purpose, or
(e) served in accordance with the Act.

Deemed receipt

159 (1) A notice given in accordance with Rules 157 (b) or 158 (a) is deemed received when it is delivered.
(2) A notice given in accordance with Rules 157 (c) or 158 (b) is deemed received on the second day, not including Saturdayholidays, after the date of mailing.
(3) A notice given in accordance with Rules 157 (d) or 158 (c) is deemed to be received at the time the notice is sent by facsimile.
(4) A notice given in accordance with Rules 157 (e) or 158 (d) is deemed to be received at the time the notice is sent by email.

From a small patch in Wildwood…

Cross-posted at SlowCoast.

Oats in the furrow, ready to be covered

One of the main purposes for the Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is to get us thinking more about sharing solutions, as opposed to the current model, which often has us all off on our own trying to solve the same problems by learning the same skills and using the same resources. If we expect that we’re all going to need to become much handier at producing, preserving, and sharing food, then it makes sense for us to work better together: to share tools, ideas, space, time, and labour.

Our fast-paced and hyper-individualized culture has steered us away from collaborative projects; it’s become possible for almost everyone to do for themselves one way or another, thanks to abundant cheap goods. And we seem to have lost some of the appetite for group projects that characterized earlier generations, with their many service clubs, church groups,all the other pieces of a thriving community. To be fair, not everyone has punched their cards and checked out of the common effort, but we’re all going to have to get a lot smarter about how we work together to get the things we need.

Skookum was founded on the assumption that we all will need to become better equipped to understand how our food gets to our tables —that the work of getting the food to the table is going to become more widespread and more local. Although sometimes it seems that our efforts in this direction are puny and never enough, the only thing worse than not doing enough is doing nothing at all. (Or maybe doing something poorly.)

While we run around trying to get the gleaning project ready for prime time, while we prepare for our first general meeting of our members, we are trying to get a few little projects up off the ground. Something that particularly interested a couple of us was the idea of producing some of the grains we eat as part of our diet. A number of people hereabouts have been experimenting with Red Fife wheat and kamut, as well as other more exotic grains such as quinoa and amaranth. (And as my fellow Slow-Coaster Tom reports, buckwheat is another grain that people are growing here, if only as a cover crop.)

One grain I eat a lot of is oats, since I have a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast most days. And, conveniently, Dan Jason at Salt Spring Seeds sells a variety of hull-less oats suitable for our coastal growing conditions. Sharon Deane, another director of the cooperative and an avid food gardener, was interested in working together to grow a pilot patch of oats, if only to see how well they grow, how much they yield, and what the process is for getting from field to cereal bowl.

And so, scrambling right up to the last minute, we managed to find a little patch of shared soil up in Wildwood where we can plant and tend our experimental crop for 2010, in the hopes that we will learn enough to expand the project for next year. This past Saturday we took our five packets of Salt Spring Oats, suitable for sowing approximately five hundred square feet of ground, and spent some time turning the soil, scraping furrows, planting and covering the oats. We’ll continue to visit our little grain patch —I’ll continue to blog about the progress up there — until the end of the season, at which time we hope to have enough oats to share around, roll into flakes, and make into a delicious bowl of local breakfast. (With local fruit, milk, and honey…)

Eventually it would be wonderful to see more people getting together for the purpose of sharing land and labour to grow ever-larger patches of grains, beans, and other storage crops. There is a project running our of Vancouver, Urban Grains, which shortens the distance between grain consumers and farmers by getting city folks to sign up for a share of the grain produced from a farm in Agassiz. This is a classic Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme, and these are starting to catch on all over the place, as regular people decide that they want to become more involved in the production of the food they eat. Passive consumption of foods coming from an opaque and mysterious system of production is looking more and more like a strange aberration, only possible during a time of extremely cheap fossil fuels and a style of imaginary economics that assigns no negative value to environmental destruction and social inequities so long as they are kept well out of sight.

For the three-and-a-half years that I have been living in Powell River, I have seen more people getting more involved with growing their own food and resuscitating the traditional skills of canning, preserving, and storing food. There is a real appetite here for self-reliance at the level of the individual and of the community. It’s one of the very positive and heartening aspects of living here. We need to start taking that energy and focusing it on shared projects which will spread skills, knowledge, and (especially) food amongst as many members of the community as possible. I’d love to see our cooperative work its way up to the point where our members can sign up at the beginning of the growing season for shared grains, beans, oil, vinegar, fruit, winter storage vegetables, and all the other aspects of a food-secure household.

So, even though this humble little patch of oats may not produce any great amount of food, what it will do is get us started on one project among many to bring people together to share land and crops. We will start to learn about the economics and the practical details of small-scale grain production. And we hope that people will be attracted to the idea of experimenting with self-reliance in staple crops.

Stay tuned for updates as the season progresses!

Looking for members

The board of the Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative reminds you that our first general meeting and board election is coming soon: Wednesday June 23, 7:00 PM at Vancouver Island University in Powell River.

In order to attend and vote at this general meeting, you will need to have been accepted as a member by May 24, which is the so-called ‘record date’ of membership. (The law requires that a member be accepted no less than 30 days before a general meeting in order to attend and vote.)

If you are interested in attending the general meeting as a member in good standing, please take a few minutes to download the application form, fill it out, attach $20 for one membership share, and return it by mail to the address on the form (4486 Marine Ave. Powell River, BC, V8A 2K2); or hand-deliver it to Kingfisher Books on Marine Ave. in Powell River.

If you have any questions about membership in the cooperative, please feel free to contact us.

And… we’re off!

Cross-posted at Slow Coast.

A springtime harvest of deliciousbeautiful purple broccoli

There seems to be three ways for a nation to acquire wealth: the first is by war…this is robbery; the second by commerce, which is generally cheating; the third by agriculture, the only honest way.
(Benjamin Franklin)

Last Tuesday evening the newly-formed Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative held its first public information meeting at Vancouver Island University in Powell River. The purpose of the evening was to share information about how we got to where we are, what we intend to do, and how our members can fit into all that.

One thing I realized as I assembled notes for my presentation was how much progress six novices managed to make in five months. Our first meeting to talk about forming a cooperative was back on November 27, 2009; so the public meeting last week was our five-month anniversary. In that short time, armed with little more than determination and persistence, this initiating team accomplished the following:

  • learned how to incorporate as a cooperative;
  • specifically, learned how to incorporate as a not-for-profit — or community service — cooperative;
  • learned how to amend the standard rules in order to create the governance structure we wanted to see;
  • wrote a vision statement (“A thriving community with a strong and reliable local food network”);
  • started drafting a statement of values and principles for directing our operations;
  • bought a domain, created a basic website, and set up email accounts;
  • created a logo;
  • started recruiting members;
  • began work on one major project, the Fruit Tree Project, and have started to line up other potential projects for this year or next.

I’m sure there is more, but these are some of the highlights.

But why, you ask? Why create yet another organization? What sets this one apart?

I’m still trying to figure out my best answer to questions like these. But the one thing about cooperatives that most interests me and the other members of the initiating team, who are now the board of first directors, is that they are highly member-driven organizations. A cooperative without members is not a cooperative, and cooperatives come into existence in order to supply its members with goods or services which they might otherwise struggle to supply for themselves.

In this case, the main gaps we aim to fill are shared skills, knowledge, and resources. Increasingly, people seem to be getting the message about the importance of food production to the local economy and to a broader picture of sustainability and resilience. Although it’s hard to gauge, there is uncertainty out there about the future and about our ability to keep the food supply running as it has been doing for the past few decades. Interest in local food continues to increase.

But once people start to question the global industrialized food system, how are they supposed to change the way they shop, prepare food, and eat? Some of us have what it takes to start tearing up the lawn to make room for purple broccoli and so on; but many people will feel that they don’t know enough about growing food, or they haven’t spent any time doing it and so it would fail. Or they haven’t got the time, or the tools, or a friendly neighbour they can work with or bounce ideas off. And so the good intentions, as they so often do, fall away and never manifest themselves as positive action.

What people need is a proper community of fellow food-producers (and -processors, and -preservers, and -preparers, …) with whom they can share plans, garden space, seeds, tools, time, labour, laughter, and everything else that helps us all participate in a “strong and reliable local food network”.

This is where the Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative comes in. We chose the word “Provisioners” deliberately: a provisioner is traditionally someone who supplies provisions, meaning food and drink, usually to an army or other large group of people. And of course provision also means forethought or foresight: to make provision for something means to take it into account in one’s plans. Provisions are preparations in advance of some foreseeable event or situation. We wanted to play on this cluster of related meanings — to suggest that each one of us has what it takes to make provisions — to indicate that we can all become provisioners and escape the narrow confines of being either a passive consumer or an all-powerful producer. Just regular folks who know where their food comes from, how it got there, and where it’s going. United into a community of provisioners supporting and strengthening each other.

In this sense, many people up until about World War II were provisioners: they had some idea what it takes to produce, store, preserve, and prepare food for themselves and their families. Most of this work was considered women’s work, but it was respected as vital to the prosperity of the family and the community. We need to get these skills back into regular circulation, but we need to help people ease back into them. Many people are utterly daunted by the idea of tearing up lawn to create garden; or canning large amounts of food and storing it against lean times; or making sauerkraut; or foraging for wild foods; or building and using a root cellar; and on and on it goes.

So the only way out of this that we can see is to create a community of people working together to save money, time, and effort as they increase the amount of food being produced, preserved, stored, and prepared in the region. We intend to work with our members to design and implement projects which will attract people who want to secure their household food supply, but need the impetus of working with others, acquiring skills through doing, gaining knowledge through talking and listening, and sharing tools and equipment that they cannot afford to buy for themselves. The Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative was set up to be the framework within which we can make that happen.

Some people out there are the fearless leaders and trailblazers who don’t let any obstacles slow them down. But more are cautious and need support and encouragement. If we’re going to create a grassroots revival of traditional food skills, we’ll need to create new institutions to bring back those skills. This is not something which can happen through the existing consumer model. We cannot shop our way out of our passivity. It’s time to start creating shared projects and community institutions that bring people together. Ones which are open, honest, and fair, and increase people’s sense of a hopeful convivial future.

If this appeals to you, please consider becoming a member and helping us figure out how we can get more people involved in the local food network. Our first general meeting will be on Wednesday June 23, 2010, at 7:00 PM at Vancouver Island University in Powell River. In order to participate in this general meeting, you will need to become a member before May 24, 2010. For more information, drop us a line. We need you!

First ever public meeting of the Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative

On Tuesday April 27, 2010, we held our first public information meeting to let folks know what we’ve been up to since November and to have a discussion of some of the projects we’re already working on or might take on. Thank you to everyone who showed up!

We presented some basic information about cooperatives, their values and principles; and about the (not-for-profit) community service cooperative model, which is how we chose to incorporate.

Some interesting questions came up from the people who came out for the meeting, and we’ll be working on addressing some of these concerns.

Our first ever general meeting will be held at Vancouver Island University on Wednesday June 23 at 7:00 PM.

According to the laws that regulate cooperatives in BC, only those members whose applications have been accepted on or before May 24, 2010 will be permitted to vote at this general meeting. Anyone who wants to apply for membership should print out and complete our membership application form. Attach $20 in cash or cheque payable to Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative (or SFPC) and mail it to the address on the form. Or you can drop it off at Kingfisher Books on Marine Ave. in Powell River. Membership in the cooperative earns you the right to vote, become a director, and participate in decision-making and in our projects (including all the food preserving and processing we hope to do this year).

Our rules permit two people to take out a joint membership. Joint members will have only one vote. Only one joint member can become a director at any one time. Joint members will be able to participate in projects of the cooperative as though they were a single member. If you have questions about this or any other aspect of the Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative, please contact me or any other director.

We hope that you will consider becoming a member so that you can participate in the upcoming general meeting, and especially so that you can contribute your knowledge, skills, passion, and energy to this new cooperative.

Thank you!

We’re real!

On April 6, 2010, the Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is an officially incorporated community service cooperative!

We’re hard at work nailing down some of the remaining bits of crucial infrastructure:

  • Values and principles (these matter!);
  • Getting a chequing account at the local credit union;
  • Logo;
  • Policies for management of projects and all other things.

We’ll be holding a public information meeting and hoping to recruit some keen members on Tuesday April 27, 7:00 PM, at Vancouver Island University here in Powell River. Come on out and help us figure out what we’re doing!

Stay tuned and keep watching the skies.