Determination Meets Innovation in Huntsville Co-op
The Muskoka North Good Food Co-op (MNGFC) has made co-operating in Huntsville delicious and fun. Although they have not fully opened their store yet, they have hosted a market in their future location, managed a downtown pop-up market during the summer of 2017, engaged members as investors and volunteers, and identified a wonderful co-location in a busy community hub. They offered a tour to co-operators from all over the province during last year’s Assembly, and many of us left with bags full of delicious local food from the Muskoka area and beyond.
The MNGFC was created to meet the increased demand for local food in the region, and to provide a market for local producers to sell more of their product. The final store will have a production kitchen and a café so people can sample the healthy food and buy it or get the ingredients to make fresh healthy themselves. They will pay fair wages and put tips towards a pay-what-you-can program to make the café accessible to all.
MNGFC started with a meeting three years ago with hundreds of local people attending. They signed up 225 member-owners immediately. Even though they are not fully open as a store, their market supports over forty regional producers; thousands of dollars has already gone to the local economy through these purchases.
They have a large group of dedicated volunteers, a fantastic leader at the helm (Kelli Ebbs, also on the Board of LFFC) and are well positioned to make this co-op a tremendous success. They have raised member equity from community bonds, and are on their way to achieving the target equity as well as the core grants they need to launch the full store and kitchen. As part of the Co-operative Local Food Marketing project, supported by the Greenbelt Fund, the LFFC team created a video about the store; click on the photo or follow this link to learn more.