Our Annual General Meeting will be Tues. May 13 at 6PM

skookumAGM

Our members are urged to attend our Annual General Meeting.

Potluck supper will start at 6PM. Skookum is providing two hearty main dishes, and members are encouraged to bring a side dish, salad, or dessert. If you can’t manage to bring a dish, bring an appetite; there will be plenty of food.

The AGM will start at 7PM.

Five (5) board positions are up for grabs including three 2-year terms and two 1-year terms.  The event will take place at The United Church Trinity Hall (at 6932 Crofton at Duncan — kitty corner to City Hall)

We will have Powell River Dollars for sale as well as Tattler Canning Lids (see prices here).

We hope to see you all there!

 

 

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.

 

 

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 Amazon.ca, for example… and no shipping costs! See for yourself here). More information on the lids at the company’s website: http://www.reusablecanninglids.com/

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).

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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.

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).

We’re a-puttin’ on up!

Ant collecting food for tougher times

‘Putting up’ is a colloquial term referring to the process of canning : preserving foods by packing them into glass jars and then heating the jars to kill the organisms that would create spoilage. But along with canning, other food preserving methods such as dehydrating, pickling in salt, vinegar, sugar or alcohol, smoking food to preserve it, lacto-/wild fermentation and (of course) freezing it are all ways to extend the ’50-mile eat local’ goal year-round.

Growing it yourself is one great way to ensure your own food security and the quality of the produce you eat. And as you learn about your own yard’s microclimate (see here for Powell River details) and develop your gardening skills, you will see what grows best for you, and adapt what you eat to what grows well, or at least to set up a bartering system where you can trade your zucchini for your neighbour’s carrots. Exercise, fresh air, sunshine and the joy and satisfaction from growing your own add to the value of turning ‘sod to salad’.

Aug 5-Sept 23, 2012: The 50-day Powell River 50 Mile Eat Local Challenge! It all starts with the Edible Garden Tour on Sun. Aug. 5 Click on the snail for more info…

Once again, this year, the 4th Annual Edible Garden Tour (Sunday, August 5; get the guide here) allows you to visit a dozen or so local food gardens to see how others are doing it. Don’t miss this opportunity!

But what about food you can’t easily grow or source locally? Well, that’s when Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative’s The Abundant Pantry project (TAP) comes in. Every two months (the next deadline is September 9, 2012) our hard-working TAP coordinator Wendy Pelton collects Skookum members’ orders of bulk food and two or three days later, she (with some help from members) divides and provide us with our bundles of food we ordered.

French Green Lentils soaking

The benefits of buying in bulk are many, including:

  • Increasing your own (and your local community’s) food security in case of any disruption or lack of certain foods throughout the year. For example, the many drought-striken areas in the US will reduce availability and increase costs at the supermarket— like the ant at the top, think ahead!
  • Buying in bulk can dramatically reduce your costs: the more you buy, the more you save! This means that that you can often buy Organic and better quality food for the same price (or less than) you would pay in stores for conventionally-grown food. Plus, with our co-op structure, you can split orders, and get to meet other members, setting up a network of foodie friends to split orders in the future as well. As Pete Tebbutt recently put it:

“Some of the items I purchased I balked at, at first…..why do I need 12 bottles of Tamari?, for instance.  Well, who knew one could turn Tamari into balsamic vinegar or maple syrup into chocolate, which I did by trading with other members.”

  • With the recent focus on reducing packaging and trash as promoted by our friends at Let’s Talk Trash, buying a larger amount of dry staple foods like salt, flour, sugar, grains and legumes at one time will reduce your use of unnecessary packaging like plastic bags and tubs, tin cans, glass and cardboard boxes. Remember that even if the packaging is recycled, there are serious environmental impacts in the production, transportation and recycling these materials. Find out more on reducing your plastic use here.
  • Having a store of bulk staples foods means your family will eat healthier by avoiding the temptation of buying pre-cooked frozen or processed foods from the supermarket because of sheer convenience. If you have a bucket of dried beans right there in your home, you will use them. We all know how bad that extra salt, sugar/corn syrup, extra fat and preservatives hidden away in processed foods are for us; it feels good to actually take action and get into the habit of eating better
  • Having a store of food also reduces your trips to the supermarkets, which is good for the environment and for your own fuel consumption (and the cost of this in various ways including time, gas, vehicle wear-and-tear, etc.)
  • Buying via our Abundant Pantry project is easy, there is a wide and ever-growing array of foods available (including some local providers of soap and rabbits, and more) and a very small portion of each order goes to help Skookum fund other projects. It’s a win-win-win situation, so try it out! Follow the image (and habits) of Skooky the Squirrel. click here.
Click above to get the acorn rolling…

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.

 

Last Call for Cooperative Seed Order


This is the last call for joining in our Skookum Bulk Seed Project for 2012. More information can be found in a post I put out on January 15th.

I Heart Seeds

IMPORTANT: FEB. 14 at noon is the cut-off for Skookum’s Seed order for 2012!

  • Please note that we have 29 types of seeds available at 25% discount if we manage to get 10 packets of any particular variety. These are seeds you will likely NOT find at Seedy Saturday (except from seed vendors at full price).
  • We need to cooperatively order at least 10 packets of any single kind of seed to proceed with the ordering of that seed variety. If we have fewer than 10 orders of any variety, we will not get the 25% discount from our local supplier (Eternalseed.ca),and we will not order that variety.
  • I know that many of you have already made plans to buy seeds using your usual method, but it would help a lot if you considered buying even a few seed varieties through this service Skookum is offering, as an order of fewer than 10 packets will not go through, thus affecting others’ orders.
  • See which seeds have been ordered by clicking here. If you can possibly contribute to this project by topping up the seed varieties that are close to 10 packets right now (maybe an investment of $3-$5), this would be helpful (plus you do get the seeds after all, at a 25% discount over retail)
  • Want to order some seeds? Look at the varieties and descriptions on offer here.  Email Giovanni(at)rabideye(dot)com with the variety name and number of packets you want, and I will get back to you.

Skookum co-presents the film “To Make A Farm”

Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is happy to co-sponsor (with Transition Town Powell River) the feature documentary, To Make a Farm (Canada, 2011) On Saturday February 18, 2012 at the Powell River Film Festival. See below for details, and a clip from the film.

Sat. Feb 18 at 12:30PM, PR Recreation Complex. Click to see large version

Synopsis: Starting a farm from scratch takes more than just imagination, but it’s a good place to start. Often considered a way of life from the past, today there is a movement of young people without farming backgrounds taking up this challenging profession. To Make A Farm follows the lives of five such young people through their first seasons on the land, as the joys and disappointments of bringing life from the earth become a quiet manifesto for social change. Documentary filmmaker Steve Suderman searches his own family history in farming to wonder if the mistakes of the past can be avoided this time through.

To Make A Farm – preview 1 from Steve Suderman on Vimeo.

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!