Looking For Directors

As a result of 2 Board members recently stepping down, the Board would like to put out a call for new Board members. We typically meet monthly (probably not in December) and are working on a number of great initiatives with local food.  The term runs until April 2017 so it doesn’t have to be a long commitment.  If you are interested or have any questions about being on the Board please contact me (or any other Board member) by email.

Thanks

 

Dan Glover dan.glover(at)vch.ca
President – Skookum Food Provisioners’ Co-op Board

The End of an Era

The Abundant Pantry (TAP) bulk buying has one of Skookum’s popular services to members but it has been out of commission for over a year due to a software issue, primarily, and secondly, due to uncertainty about distribution. Sadly, despite a great deal of effort from all parties, we have been unable to restart this bulk-buying initiative.The Abundant Pantry Steering Committee and the Skookum Board have decided to shut down TAP as a Skookum service.

As work continues to turn Ecossentials into a local Co-op, it is conceivable that in the near future a similar program could be offered through an Ecossentials Co-op and members could again take advantage of bulk buying opportunities of quality organic food.

As some of our 320 current members purchased their memberships because of the existence of TAP, we want to remind members who wish to leave Skookum that this is possible at any time and you will receive your $20 membership fee back. The withdrawal form is on the Skookum web site on the “Become a member” page. A direct link to the PDF is here.

The TAP Steering Committee deserve a huge “Thank You!” for all their efforts and hard work over the years.

We hope you choose to remain a Skookum member as the future looks bright for local food initiatives in Powell River!

The Skookum Board

What it means to be a Community Service Cooperative

This is Part 2 in a short series on cooperatives, and specifically on Community Service Cooperatives, because that is the designation for Skookum.

As a cooperative, we adhere to all the rules as described here (there are 171 of them) based on the BC Cooperative Association’s Regulations. This includes the fact that cooperatives are owned by their members (that’s one member=one vote, as opposed to being based on amount invested/donated, making cooperatives very democratic entities), and that each member holds a stake in the cooperative, that can be redeemed at any time. At Skookum, this is represented by your share certificate that costs $20.

The gist of it: What’s A Community Service Cooperative?

  • The purpose of a Community Service Cooperative can be either charitable or to provide health, social, educational or other community services to members, with a responsibility to the wider community. While Skookum is a non-profit cooperative organization, we are eligible via this new Community Service Cooperative designation, to apply to the Canada Revenue Agency for charitable status, if we so wish.
  • Assets collected or donated may only directly support and grow the cooperative (providing members with services and access to information, events, tools, land, supplies etc.), Skookum cannot return profit shares to members (unlike Mountain Equipment Co-0p or First Credit Union), whether on a periodic basis nor upon dissolution of the cooperative.
  • If the cooperative were to dissolve, members would receive their initial share price, after satisfaction of its liabilities and the costs, charges and expenses properly incurred in the dissolution or winding up. Any further assets must be transferred to or distributed among one or more community service cooperative or a registered charitable organization.

Skookum is concerned with increasing the amount of food available locally, regardless of how it comes to people:

  • Grown: any kind of produce, grains, beans, etc.
  • Gathered: wild foods, gleaned fruits nuts, etc.
  • Raised: animals other domesticated food sources;
  • Caught: wild animals, fish, etc.
triplebottom-linegraphic-1
The Triple Bottom Line:
Healthy Community: we intend to produce benefits for the social life of the community, through the strengthening of ties among people, by respecting and honouring the work that people do to feed themselves and others;
Economic Vitality: we intend to produce economic opportunities for people, embedded in a vision of a fair and just economy which pays fair prices and fair wages;
Natural Environment: we intend to minimize waste and destructive practices as we go about our work.

In practical terms, the cooperative’s members are encouraged to reflect Skookum’s commitment to the three pillars of the Triple Bottom Line (social, environmental, economic) by creating and supporting projects that help members to grow, gather, catch, raise, preserve, prepare and share healthful food as locally as possible.

As a cooperative, Skookum is a ‘bottom-up’ organization that relies on the energy and ideas of its membership to address this Triple Bottom Line through engagement at the levels of governance, project management, and participation in the projects or events we develop/participate in.

Skookum has no paid staff, but projects are expected to provide for coordinator remuneration, while addressing our core values and purposes, and providing a percentage toward Skookum operating costs. Recent projects include a member-run bulk purchase of fruit trees, ongoing Tattler lid sales, Cover Crop sales, and The Abundant Pantry Bulk Buying Club (now offering Cafe Justicia fairer-than-fair trade coffee, and always more local products), but also the recent get-together and plans for more informational/fun events like seasonal potlucks, film screenings and guest presentations in the fall/winter to come. We are also planning another round of our yearly ‘Apple Cider Press-a-Thon’ at the 2013 Powell River Fall Fair on the weekend of September 21-22.

We are seeking helpers for this as well as materials to make it work even better, so contact us with how you want to help out or click here and come up with your own Skookum project; check this page out for inspiration.

 

 

Save the Date! AGM Thursday, May 2 at 7PM

agmskookSave the Date! Our Annual General  Meeting (AGM) will be held on Thursday, May 2 at 7:00 PM at the United Church’s Trinity Hall (kitty-corner to City Hall at 6932 Crofton Street).

Feel free to bring along some snacks and desserts, but we will lay on a nice spread of snacks and beverages, so no worries.

You will be all be getting a notice in the mail (along with your newly revamped share certificates) soon, but here is a rough look at what our AGM will look like:

  • A progress report for the past year, including a report on how we did financially.
  • Elections for four directors (interested in joining the seven-member volunteer board? We’re looking for a few ‘passionate-about-food’ members with talents and time to put toward this amazing project we call Skookum). Contact us if you are interested or want more info.
  • Fabulous Door Prizes! (Do you also want to donate a local food or related item? Let us know.)
  • An update on how Powell River Dollars can benefit the co-op, and an opportunity to buy some PR$.
  • After the formalities, we’ll enjoy our delicious refreshments and a fun ‘Meet-and-Greet’ event to get to know your wonderful fellow members. Please also bring some treats too if you can– finger food and desserts, especially vegan and gluten free options welcome); we know we have some of the best bakers in Powell River amongst our membership and we want to help you showcase your skills!
  • A chance to buy some newly-ordered Tattler reusable BPA-free Canning Lids (see below for more info).
  • Remember the blog post we put out on cover crops? Well, they arrived a bit too late for Seedy Saturday, but we will have cover-crop seed samplers (1/2-pound packets of an Organic Pea & Oat mix for $3.00 each). These are crops that add nutrients, loosen  your soil, and suppress weeds in your garden beds.
  • It looks as though we will have some Cafe Justicia Fair Trade “Plus” Coffee on sale too!
  • Find out more about our Bulk Buying Club, The Abundant Pantry, too in time for the May 12 springtime shopping deadline! What amazing products for the lowest possible prices. Find out more here: http://skookumfood.ca/bulk-buying/members/faq.php).

Well, there will surely be even more going on at the Skookum AGM, too.

See you there on Thursday, May 2!


More about Tattler lids

This time we’re selling Tattler lids at even lower prices! They’re about half the price you’d pay via Amazon.ca (and 15% of the cost goes to support Skookum). We ask members to limit purchases to 100 lids ea. at this point, to allow more members to take advantage. After the AGM, we will offer the lids on a per-order basis.

We will have:

    • 24-packs of regular lids + rubber rings .60 ea ($14.50); 50-packs ($30);
    • 24-pack wide mouth lids + rubber rings  .70 ea ($17.00); 50-packs ($35);
    • Individual extra rubber rings (wide and regular) .22 each in packs of 5  ($1.10 per pack).

Fall Fair Fabulousness

Pete and ‘the son of Spiderman’, with requisite admirers

Whew! Some 20+ Skookum members and friends were on hand this past weekend for year 2 of our Fall Fair cider-pressing/processing/vending presence, and we provided a very good show indeed! Not to mention delicious fresh, lightly spiced hot and cool cider, sold by the mug ($1) and by the 32-oz bottle ($5).

This Skookum fundraiser raised somewhere in the neighbourhood of $500 after expenses. We would like to thank all the apple donors as well as those folks and organizations (CJMP springs to mind) who let us use their materials and equipment. Very special thanks to Board member/taskmaster David (who organized the whole shebang this year, taking cues/tips from Jax), our president and chief im/presser Pete, Jacqueline herself, Jan (and husband Gary, both working behind the scenes to make sure we had the press, bottles and materials we needed), and former director Sharon!

Members Stacy, Annabelle, Connie, Patricia (and her husband John), Melissa (and her daughter Chelsea), Emma, Lyn, Dan, and many others I met for the first time worked so hard (many on both days of the fair!) and were so generous with their apples and materials/equipment to make the event a success. You can spot some of them on our Facebook page photo gallery (plus videos).

Remember that the press belongs to Skookum members, and as a member you can rent it for just $20/day (see details here).

 

Skookum Rolls Out Food Library at Kingfisher Books

It’s been in the works for a while, and it’s still a work in progress, but Skookum is very proud to announce that our members-only Skookum Community Bookshelf (a lending library) is now open, and living in Kingfisher Books: 4486 Marine Ave.          Tel. 604.414-4573

The lending library shelves are right across from the cash register. Memberships to Skookum can also be purchased at this location.

Bookstore co-owner Sharon Deane–a former director of Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative–spearheaded the project a while ago and has been instrumental in compiling our burgeoning collection on:

“anything on Organic gardening, fruit raising, subsistence farming, livestock, foraging, preserving, or cooking with home-raised ingredients”

Sharon is being assisted by Skookum member Melissa Leigh, with the full support of Skookum’s board of directors. The goal is to have an automated system of lending out the books, but that needs some work.

Sharon is looking for donations of books and DVDs on the above topics, from Skookum members and the wider community. Cash donations that will go toward purchasing new materials are also accepted. So, dust off those excellent books you’ve been holding onto, and feel you are helping to spread the wealth of knowledge on all things ‘food’. Plus, as an empty-nester, you can borrow your own book again or visit with it whenever it’s in the store.

 

November 2011 letter from President Pete Tebbutt

A pair of amanita mushrooms

Hello everyone,

Our days are growing increasingly darker and the weather cycling into cooler temperatures. The world’s systems are straining from our (collective) disregard for the limits of our ecosystem to meet the demands made by our adherence to growth as a model for humanity’s betterment. We all know that the systems we have designed are in need of review at the very least and most likely need to be scrapped entirely. These will have to be replaced with sustainable ones which will keep our planet and communities healthy and happy. These changes are likely to be challenging and disruptive at the very least, however I believe that whatever steps we take now to address these issues and to build resilience will minimize the impacts on our community.

I thank you all for being a part of the solution. Take a look at this, released a few days ago:

UN General Assembly to launch International Year of Co-operatives today

New York, October 31, 2011 — Today is a historic day in the history of the United Nations and the global co-operative movement, as the UN General Assembly officially launches the 2012 International Year of Co-operatives.

In December 2009, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives, in recognition of the contribution co-operatives make to the social and economic development of communities around the world. The theme of the International Year is Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World.

I invite you all, individually and collectively to apply yourselves to discussion at the very least and creation of events that our co-operative can undertake to help lead the way towards a sustainable future. Find ways to share both skills and knowledge which will build resilience within the community and which will help us transition into a sustainable future. We have to do it simply because there is no one else.

The Fall Fair was a success this year. A wonderful turnout where the Skookum cider press was found to be producing fresh cider. It was produced by our volunteers and met all requirements of the health act to boot, while providing the co-op with some income. Thanks to the efforts of those who took time to organize and manage the event.

Progress is being made with The Abundant Pantry bulk buying club. Software is being written as I type which will enable products to be listed to the ordering pages of our site in ways which will enable easy searching and sorting. It’s time consuming, painstaking work and my thanks to Barry Bookout for his voluntary diligence. The wait for this is worthwhile and I’m sure you’ll find the ease of use of the ordering system beneficial. When this work is complete and we’re ready for a trial run I’ll gladly announce the news.

Jacqueline Morales is holding a dehydration workshop watch for the posters). This is one NOT to miss as it is both very affordable and the knowledge she will be sharing is extensive. There will a maximum attendance of twenty people so don’t take too long to decide to go! It will take place in Wildwood on Dec. 10 and Dec. 12 (allowing a day in between for the dehydrators to do their work) and costs $30 for Skookum Co-op members, $45 for non-members. The sign up deadline is Nov. 20.

I have a request for at least one volunteer to help set up a computerized catalogue for our community library located at Kingfisher Books. I am told that the task is to enter book names into an existing database and will not need the expertise of a librarian. Please let me know if you are willing.

The Skookum board has been discussing holding a get-together event in January. Some thoughts have been a potluck supper, a movie night /or a speaker. Perhaps a combination of them. What ideas do you have? Please share your thoughts and comments.

I will be away on an extended trip and will be available via e-mail (peteteb@gmail.com) and the board can be reached at board@skookumfood.ca. Please keep your ideas coming and bring your enthusiasm forward, for the betterment of us all.

Regards,
Pete Tebbutt

Update from the Chair

The path bears fruit.

Hello members,

Here we are at the end of August already with the harvest upon us.  I thought it high time to share what has been happening over the last months at our fledgling co-operative.

The new board has met twice since the annual general meeting and will continue to do so once a month on the first Tuesday. The meetings are at once focused, informative, jovial and delicious as we go through each meeting’s agenda attending to the business of the co-op. About halfway through each meeting we break to enjoy scrumptious potluck food to carry us through the rest of the evening. Members are welcome to attend these meetings (please contact  us to ensure enough seating), the minutes of which are posted on our website.

One of the new Skookum projects is the “Abundant Pantry Bulk Buying Club”. Wendy Pelton, the project coordinator, and Barry Bookout have been working hard to bring this into existence and I am thankful for their dedication. Their volunteered progress is very encouraging and appreciated as they build a solid framework with which we, as members, can engage in. Many hours have been spent setting up an on-line ordering system and engaging in meetings aimed at fitting the BBC into our community in a way which will enhance local businesses rather than compete with them. The on-line ordering system we’ll soon be able to test with a trial “guinea pig” run involving just a few people, the aim here being to iron out as many bugs as possible before inviting all Skookum members to begin filling their pantries. Once the trial run has happened and the system is ready to go I’ll keenly share the news.

There are some outstanding challenges to be resolved with regard to the BBC AND I AM NOW APPEALING TO YOU, THE MEMBERSHIP FOR ASSISTANCE. Is there a member who is versed in accounting principles, or at least good with numbers, who would undertake overseeing the accounting for the BBC, and whom Wendy can ask for advice on financial issues. Also, while negotiations for supply are ongoing, there might be a need to transport our order from the delivery site to our distribution site. Are there members with a van or truck who would undertake this task which initially would happen every two months. Please remember that the more we can do for ourselves the better off we’ll be.

Skookum Gleaners, formerly ‘The Fruit Tree Project’, is up and running again. There is a small and dedicated group of volunteers meeting every two weeks organizing and doing their best to overcome the many obstacles to making this a successful undertaking. My thanks to those folks for their ongoing efforts. Although this is again not a great fruit year, there are some places where fruit has set with abundance. If you see a fruit tree bearing fruit, please ask the owner if he or she knows about Skookum Gleaners and direct them here if they are interested (phone (604) 485-4366 or email gleaners@skookumfood.ca. Also, we have made an application to the City of Powell River’s ‘Grants In Aid’ program for funds towards this project and hopefully this application will bear fruit this year.

It’s harvest time, with ripening tomatoes, beans, peas, beets, potatoes, carrots and more. Much of this food needs to be stored for the winter either canned, pickled, or dried. Perhaps in a root cellar and certainly some form of pantry. Last year, there was a canning event and an apple pressing event which Skookum members were invited to attend. I would like to encourage any member with interest and willingness to share these skills to undertake an event while there is food to preserve. These events have always been enjoyable and provide participants with knowledge and nutrition while enhancing friendships. We, the board, are here to assist you in making your event a success. Please contact us with your ideas and let’s make it happen.

Remember that the Skookum cider press sits awaiting a call for use. Visit our project page for details at: http://skookumfood.ca/our-projects/skookum-cider-press/.

The vitality of our co-op depends on you.  If you have ideas, projects, skills and knowledge to share, please do so.

I wish you abundance this harvest season.

Yours,
Pete Tebbutt
Chair, Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative

Skookum’s New(ish) Board of Directors

Bursting with new energyideas!

Well, it’s been several weeks since Skookum’s most recent Annual General Meeting and it’s time we announce the directors of the of the Society for this year!

First, though, Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative owes a big thank-you to out-going directors Nola Poirier and Julie Thorne, for all their hard work and great ideas throughout the past year. Julie is continuing on as part of the steering committee for Skookum Gleaners, and on Transition Town Powell River, while Nola reigns as Spoken Word Director for CJMP: Powell River Community Radio and myriad other projects.

(l-r) Jan, Sharon, and Pete

Our new elected board members are:

  • Pete Tebbutt, who takes over as President of the Cooperative,
  • Jacqueline Huddleston

The rest of the board elected on June 22, 2011,  is made up of returning directors David Parkinson (now Treasurer), Jonathan van Wiltenburg (returning as Vice-President), Jan Burnikell (returning as Secretary), Sharon Deane, and Giovanni Spezzacatena.

But let’s not forget that cooperatives are about the members. As always, we encourage all members to participate as project coordinators and as blazers on the local food trail any way you can. Propose a project, participate in our upcoming events, accept our open invitation to our monthly board meetings, help organize and fund-raise for Skookum, spread the word, etc. Keep reading this blog for the latest news and opportunities.