Message from Skookum


(originally sent as an email to our members Dec 21, 2013) I slept in a little this morning although I did not realize this until after I found my watch (no easy feat) to find the time.  Almost 7 o’clock and yet it is fully dark outside, the forest is quiet except for the calls of owls.

This  solstice for me is the beginning of the new year.  The planet has tilted as far as it will on its journey around the sun and we’re on the doorstep of winter.  A time for reflection and a time for celebration with thoughts of renewal uppermost in my mind.

With that in mind I would like to offer my best wishes to you and thanks for your contributions and involvement with Skookum Food and Provisioners co-op.  I am very much looking forward to working with you all towards an engaged and sustainable future.

For the board, I offer our best wishes to you today, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Pete Tebbutt

A tad squirrely

Thinking Ahead: Don’t forget that The Abundant Pantry Bulk Buying Club has a new Facebook page . The next order date deadline is Sunday, January 12 (with delivery on January 16). You can use our facebook page to coordinate orders as well as the splits page (available once you log in) or even our membership-wide email:

You must be a Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative member to participate, though. $20 for a lifetime membership. Find out more here.

Welcome to Splitsville, at the Abundant Pantry project

A tad squirrely
Winter’s Coming… Going a tad squirrely?

It really is worth remembering that one of Skookum’s recurring benefits to members comes through our The Abundant Pantry (TAP) Bulk Food Buying Club that runs every two months. The next deadline is Sunday, November 10 at 11:00 PM sharp. If you haven’t used it yet, you’re missing out on the benefits of gaining access to the best quality organic and conventional foods, at the lowest possible prices.

It’s easy.

  1. If you are already signed up as a TAP member… move to step 2 (if not, click here)
  2. You shop online anytime you want (up to 11:00 PM on Sunday November 10 for this next cycle)
  3. Check out the existing splits offered or enter your own invitations to split an order
  4. Show up on Delivery Day (Thursday November 14) at the set time and location  in Wildwood and pay there. Want to help at the distribution location? Ask Wendy, the program coordinator at

Buying in bulk has many advantages, especially with the colder weather on its way…

  • You save money when you buy in bulk (we have food and non-food items, plus pet food, with some local products too)
  • You store more and better quality staples for the best price (which means you can often buy Organic food via The Abundant Pantry (TAP), for the cost of non-Organic at the supermarket, or less!
  • You will tend to eat better, less-processed and Organic food if you have better food in storage!
  • You generally reduce the need to rush off to the store (saving money, gas, time, effort, annoyance, especially in the winter when it can be an extra chore)
  • You generally reduce the amount of packaging when you buy in bulk (it depends on what you’re buying, but generally the larger the quantity, the less packaging and the more recyclable the packaging is)
  • You get to contribute a little bit to Skookum (a very small fraction of your bill is to help pay for the coordination and rental of space)
  • More importantly, get to know your fellow members; it’s all part of building a resilient community that will benefit us all
  • …and if you’re worried about having too much of a good thing (i.e. overbuying some products) do we have splits for you! It’s our program’s Splits Page, and it doesn’t end there, you can also use our Skookum members email list (just email members(at)skookumfood(dot)ca) or our Facebook page  and let them know you have food to share, either before you buy or afterwards. You can set up arrangements between yourselves.
  • It happens every two months, with the next order being November 10, so start browsing and check out the 1,500+  products available to you.

All the details are at The Abundant Pantry site. Any questions at all? Contact the development team at

Skookum Co-op Week Event

We had around 50 people come out on a foggy night in Powell River BC’s Cranberry neighbourhood for our guest speaker Tom Shandel’s film screening and discussion. We were very lucky to have Tom’s experience and insights into the co-op/credit union world.

We thank First Credit Union and their representative Tara Chernoff for their support on what was Credit Union Day (Oct 17), and all our participating members, especially Aaron Mazurek and family for hosting Tom Shandel and his partner, as well as to Jacqueline Huddleston for putting out an appie extravaganza and for her general tireless work for our cooperative.

Many thanks also to Jan Burnikell who is also always there as a constant support. Kudos also to our Skookum guest speakers/co-organizers David Parkinson (Secretary, Past-President), Laura Berezan (Treasurer), and to all those who showed up with equipment and assistance in setting up/tearing down, and driving us around to get this event happening.

We do have an audio recording of the event, that needs to be edited. Skookum has a copy of the film we viewed, plus 2 other versions that relate directly to Social Co-ops (elder care, drug rehab co-ops, especially), and to the Emilia-Romagna, Italy model. This DVD and another title by Tom Shandel will be made available to members through our Skookum Bookshelf (our lending library that you should really check out and even contribute to…) at Kingfisher Books on Marine Ave., shortly.

If you missed it… here is the dynamic slideshow that preceded the event, click here.

Tara Chernoff ‘s very relevant and timely reference to a Tyee article on 5 Things we Don’t Know About Co-ops, and you can read it right here.

And here is a version of the film (but not exactly the one that played last night) here in two parts:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Thurs. Oct 17: Coop Week Film/Discussion with Tom Shandel

Click image for larger version pdf. Please feel free to print a copy and put one up somewhere. OPEN TO ALL. We are asking for $5 donation at the door.

Please join us at the Cranberry Seniors’ Centre on Thursday, Oct 17 at 6:30 PM (show at 7:00 PM) for an evening with Tom Shandel, visiting film-maker, producer, writer, and board member of Duncan BC’s Cowichan Co-operative Connections, for a screening of his short documentary film Civilizing the Economy (read on below) and clips from some of his other work, plus a discussion on building and maintaining cooperatives in our region and beyond.

This event is co-sponsored by Skookum and First Credit Union to celebrate Co-op Week (Oct 13-19) and Credit Union Day (Oct 17). Everyone is welcome to attend; arrive early as seating is limited, plus we will have some delicious snacks conjured up by Chef Jacqueline Huddleston. A $5 donation at the door is much appreciated, as this is a fund-raiser for future Skookum projects.

Click image to view trailer

“Civilizing the Economy

The Corporation documentary showed us how bad they really are. But there is an alternative way to organize enterprise better than no-public-liability en-corporations. And it’s been around for years…and built a lot of western Canada. How come we stopped? 


Produced for British Columbia Cooperative Association and directed by Tom Shandel, written by John Restakis with strong support by Robert Williams, CIVILIZING THE ECONOMY, narrated by Patrick Watson, shows there’s another way to do business in a more or less free market: COOPERATIVES!
CIVILIZING THE ECONOMY explores one of Europe’s most successful economies, featuring three interdependent sectors, private, public/state and cooperatives. ” From:


Cooperatives on the bean

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThis third instalment on cooperatives will take a more personal approach to the topic: namely, why I became a member way back when (3 years ago or so) and what my personal motivations are in seeing Skookum develop and increasingly become a big part of our community, and a draw for the like-minded out there looking for a great place to live.

Other points of view are encouraged on this blog as well, so if you want to share, please contact us with your story or simply comment on this one, at the bottom of the blog post.

In 2009, while our trusty economy was taking its latest major dip, a small group of us got to talking about how to increase our community’s confidence in being able to feed ourselves. The  ‘food insecurity’ was and still is, caused by various factors like volatile food prices and the constant low-level awareness that as a remote community producing probably no more than 4% of our food, we could be in big trouble and fast. Other areas of concern are the effects and costs in both today-dollars and future costs to the environment and our health inherent to fossil fuel use in food production/transportation. Coupled with the growing local interest in food self-sufficiency in terms of growing, raising, catching, preparing, preserving and sharing the best food possible, made it seem like a good time to try something new.

Underlying this was the need to great create stronger community links between people with resources and skills and those who could gain from these, for the benefit of all. We saw the newly developed non-profit Community Service Cooperative designation as providing a great model for democratic ownership. Even before we had the Skookum name, we had the feeling that the group would grow to include many different types of activities that would support local food and also create links between people with a concern for related progressive society-building activities like affordable housing, collective ownership of land, materials, vehicles, structures and resources. Any profits raised from our group’s activities goes back into the cooperative, and with  no membership fees (except for the initial one-time purchase of an actual share at $20 that is also redeemable), the cooperative was meant to provide open access to jointly-owned resources.

cabbages at the EGTSo what do you do? Who do you benefit? What can I get out of this?

The one-line ‘elevator speech’ describing Skookum is a pesky critter: the fact is that the cooperative was designed to be what the membership wants it to be, provided that our core goals of  helping our members “acquire and share the knowledge, skills, and resources they need in order to  grow, gather, raise, and catch healthful food as locally as possible and to preserve, store, prepare, and share the bounty”. That’s a mouthful. I like to say we’re here to help make local food happen, however we can. If a member wants to run a lending library of books (we have this at Kingfisher Books) or tools, run workshops on growing rabbits, catching fish, canning tomatoes, growing or picking mushrooms, baking bread, or run a bulk buying project that will help members get the best possible food or food-related product (seeds, plants, trees, growing or preserving supplies) at reasonable prices, they should be able to do so and get payment from those members or non-members who want to participate.

These activities help the membership gain the skills, materials and products at reasonable cost, while having a door open to non-members also opens the cooperative up to the wider community, since our goals include “building a strong community and a diverse local food economy based on mutual support, fair prices, living wages, and respect for the natural systems which sustain life”.

If you went on the local Edible Garden Tour this year (kicking off the  Annual 50-Mile Eat Local Challenge), you visited several Skookum members’ gardens, saw our Skookum cider press (the morning part of the tour) and probably talked with many Skookum members too! We have 137 memberships comprising 186 members at this point and we’re always looking for active members to increase the scope and to work on existing projects that need support. Tell your friends!


Time to Can? Tattler Lids and Rings Available to Skookum Members

Tattler Time.

Tattler Time.

This post is an excerpt from a permanent page on our site. Find it here.

Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative has Tatter Canning Lids and Rings for sale to members only.

Why Use Tattler Lids, and why buy them from Skookum?

  • Tattler lids are reusable up to and beyond 20 times over (those conventional rubber-coated metal lids are only recommended for single use; the rubber rings are reusable up to 5 or so times– you can buy they separately from Skookum as well)
  • They are therefore cheaper to use in the long run (and even ‘medium’ run)
  • Unlike most canned foods (in metal cans, and those in jars or in plastic most of which contain the chemical Bisphenol-A), Tattler lids do not contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), a very controversial chemical used in plastics industry and banned by some countries using these on baby products. 
  • Unlike single-use lids, Tattler lids are recyclable (they contain only one material: BPA-free plastic and as such can be recycled)
  • Tattler lids are also excellent for canning high-acid foods that can corrode through to metal lids and throw the flavours off.
  • Tattler lids are different from conventional canning lids and follow a different procedure for canning. There are instructions on their website and included on paper with each purchase of lids you make from Skookum. Failure to follow their specifications may lead to troubles using the lids.
  • Tattler lids are not recommended for pressure canning.
  • Tattler lids can be used for dry food storage as well!

You can buy Tattler lids via Skookum for the best price possible (about half of what you’d pay via, for example… and no shipping costs! See for yourself here). More information on the lids at the company’s website:

Our prices are as follows; to order, use our contact page and tell us what you’d like, then you can pick them up by arrangement from our Westview neighbourhood location (sorry, we cannot ship the lids, and this is for members only– you can become a member here for just $20 for a lifetime membership).

Remember also that 15% of your purchase price goes to fund Skookum projects, too! It’s a win-win-win situation: you get to buy a product that is not widely available in Canada, you’re encouraged to can local and in-season food, you get to help Skookum fund projects, and you save c. 45% off what you would normally have to pay for the lids!

Here are your choices:

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


We also have more cover crop seeds available so plant sow them as soon as you harvest a crop (like for e.g. garlic), to increase soil health and to keep weeds down.

William Dam seeds: 547 Peas 4010 and Oats 50/50 Mix Organic ($3 for a half-pound bag; shipping and tax, plus 10% going to support Skookum,  included in price.)

Best green manure for spring seeding. Very effective Nitrogen and biomass builder. 4010 peas are the best leafy forage peas for plowdown, producing over 40″ of green mass in 10 weeks. Oats will utilize available nitrogen, building soil structure, suppress weeds and provide quick growth while the peas fix nitrogen for following crop. Well suited for late summer/ fall seedlings as well. It is best practice to allow three weeks before seeding following crops. Mow down and work into soil at flowering. Seeding Rate: 2-3lb per 1000 sq. ft, 80-100lbs/acre drilled, 100-120lbs/acre broadcast.

Aside from adding organic matter to the soil, cover crops have many other purposes:

          • They reduce soil loss from water erosion.
          • They maintain soil surface infiltration, so it does not compact.
          • Cover crops improve soil tilth (structure).
          • They scavenge nutrients that might otherwise leach from the field.
          • They feed and provide shelter for birds, wildlife, and beneficial insects.
          • They fix nitrogen in the soil.

To purchase ($3 for 1/2 lb bag), contact us here or email giovanni (at) rabideye (dot) com.

It’s a Skookum Summer

We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves! Many thanks to Skookum members Lyn and Kathie for inviting us to their amazing home, and to Jacqueline for the equally stellar barbecued local fish, chicken and burgers. It was a great time and we look forward to more events such as this year-round. If you want to host a Skookum get-together, just let us know (

Images by

Skookum Summer Sunday Social: BBQ Potluck on June 30 starting at 12 noon

Thomas Cole’s “The Picnic”, 1846.

It’s official! The next Skookum social is an outdoor picnic at member Lyn Adamson’s “Salty Dog” property just north of town (on the way to Lund) on Sunday June 30 starting at 12 noon!

Lyn suggests a BBQ potluck on the beach, a swim or a kayak paddle if anybody wants to.

This is a members-only event (but members’ families are more than welcome) and we ask you to kindly RSVP to event organizer Jacqueline Huddleston via email at as it will make planning a bit easier. Bring something to nibble on/BBQ and to share if you can, plus a lawn chair and a beach chair, a towel and bathing suit if you want to take a dip or kayak out.

Plus you can shop for cover crop seeds and Tattler Canning Lids.

It is all set to be a beach BBQ, here is some inspiration: Jacqueline is planning on making grilled local lamb with chimichurri or perhaps maple glazed salmon (if she can’t find local meat) or both!

Due to the public nature of this blog, the full address and directions to the north of town location will be sent via email to members, plus we will add our own markers to make this more obvious.

Hope to see you there (and remember to RSVP Jacqueline, please). This could be a great time to connect with fellow cooperative members and to enjoy a picnic in a waterfront park setting, and this will run rain or shine! It’s going to be a “zero waste event” .
So besides the towel and beach chair please bring your own dishes, cutlery and glassware (there’s a sink to wash up so you won’t have to take them home dirty).
Hope to see you there, it’s going to be fun and delicious!

Let us know (email if you would like to purchase any cover crop seeds or Tattler lids, as these can be made available to you at this event or by special appointment.
Find out what we have on offer for pick-up at the event
547 Peas 4010 and Oats 50/50 Mix Organic ($3 for a half-pound bag; very few available)

Best green manure for spring seeding. Very effective Nitrogen and biomass builder. 4010 peas are the best leafy forage peas for plowdown, producing over 40″ of green mass in 10 weeks. Oats will utilize available nitrogen, building soil structure, suppress weeds and provide quick growth while the peas fix nitrogen for following crop. Well suited for late summer/ fall seedlings as well. It is best practice to allow three weeks before seeding following crops. Mow down and work into soil at flowering. Seeding Rate: 2-3lb per 1000 sq. ft, 80-100lbs/acre drilled, 100-120lbs/acre broadcast.

Aside from adding organic matter to the soil, cover crops have many other purposes:

  • They reduce soil loss from water erosion.
  • They maintain soil surface infiltration, so it does not compact.
  • Cover crops improve soil tilth (structure).
  • They scavenge nutrients that might otherwise leach from the field.
  • They feed and provide shelter for birds, wildlife, and beneficial insects.
  • They fix nitrogen in the soil.

We also are  selling Tattler lids at even lower prices! They’re about half the price you’d pay via (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. We offer the lids on a per-order basis, until they run out; there is no planned bulk purchase in 2013/14.

We 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).

2013 AGM Wrap-Up

Laura Berezan reviews her Treasurer's Report with a focus on Powell River Dollars and the Cooperative.
Laura Berezan reviews her Treasurer’s Report with a focus on Powell River Dollars and the Cooperative.

It was Skookum’s fourth Annual General Meeting last night at The United Church’s Trinity Hall; thank you to those 30 members attending. The evening featured wonderful edibles by outgoing director Jacqueline Huddleston, sales of Cafe Justicia Coffee, Tattler canning lids, and William Dam cover crop sampler packs for members to purchase (many more lids and seeds are left over so contact Giovanni for info on how to get ’em). This was followed by the formal meeting itself that began at 7:15 PM, with Chairperson Pete Tebbutt reviewing last year’s AGM minutes, which were then accepted, and passing the baton to Treasurer Laura Berezan who presented her Treasurer’s Report.

After that report, Laura explained how Powell River Dollars have contributed to Skookum’s coffers over the past year and how important it is for our members to exchange Canadian dollars for PR$ (at CMG Printing on Marine Ave and at Skookum gatherings) as it directly impacts local organizations of your choice and helps local businesses, too. Laura explained how it all works, and how Skookum is being creative in finding out how to spend PR$ that have been donated (e.g., offering scholarships via the local Permaculture Design course, paying workshop or bulk buying coordinators, etc.)

Then Pete gave the directors’ report describing the many activities we’re been engaged in this past year, including The Abundant Pantry (next order closes May 12, so get on that, click here), two orders of nuts and dried fruits from Rancho Vignola, Cafe Justicia-related presentation and sales of their coffee, four public gatherings, Tattler lid and cover crop bulk orders, and a successful dehydrator order, and more. Pete thanked our project coordinators and Melissa Leigh who has generously volunteered her bookkeeping skills.

tableThe Abundant Pantry (TAP) coordinator Wendy Pelton and her husband Barry Bookout were also given a round of applause for their work on TAP since the beginning (almost 2 years ago now!). Wendy was in attendance and asked for feedback on how to make the project work better. You can send your ideas to her at Wendy even sang us a little ditty as a teaser for her planned ‘stocking-up road show’ she is planning for the Fall. She welcomes help on this as well (contact her at the same email address above).

Four directors’ terms were up (David Parkinson, Giovanni Spezzacatena, and Pete Tebbutt) and all decided to stand for re-election to a new two-year term, with Jacqueline Huddleston completing her term. All the standing directors were elected by acclamation with the addition of one new director Julia Downs who indicated via email that she would accept nomination to the board, and was therefore elected as well.

The Executive Board members remain largely the same, with Pete Tebbutt as President, Rosemary Bjorknas as Vice President, Laura Berezan as Treasurer, but with David Parkinson replacing Jan Burnikell as Secretary (Jan must stand down because of our term limits, which ensure that board members don’t get fixed in one role forever). Jan and Giovanni remain on along with Julia Downs, in portfolios that will be determined shortly.

Thank you to all who came out!

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is holding our Annual General Meeting on Thursday May 2, starting at 7:00 PM, in Trinity Hall at the Powell River United Church, located at 6932 Crofton St., Powell River, BC (at the corner of Michigan Ave. and Duncan St.). The meeting will be followed by a social time with refreshments.

At this meeting, the board of directors will report on progress since the 2012 Annual General Meeting, including presentation of the year-end financial statement. Members will elect directors.

You can download the notice of meeting and agenda here. Our balance sheet as of our year-end (March 31, 2013) is here, and the statement of income and expenses is here. Members will be receiving these documents by regular mail along with the newly-issued redesigned share certificates.

We hope that you will be able to attend our 2013 Annual General Meeting. We allow proxy voting for any member who cannot attend and would otherwise 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 (see above).

Only members may vote at this meeting, but we welcome newcomers and people interested in becoming members.

We’re on Facebook