A Cooperative Grocery Store for Nantucket
This past winter the Grand Union supermarket pulled out of town and the Island's already limited grocery options became even narrower. Nantucket now only had one true supermarket, and the Stop & Shop was effectively handed what amounts to a local monopoly. Soon, rumors of an imminent CVS move into this prime downtown location began to circulate, but the island community reacted strongly and quickly against this scenario with an online petition, a Facebook page and threats of a boycott, and when the Board of Selectmen scheduled a special meeting for the townspeople to air their grievances about it, CVS actually backed off.
This was a seemingly major victory for the town, as it left open the possibility of bringing a quality grocery store to this location, something to give the Stop & Shop some competition, maybe something better than we have ever had. Some wanted a Trader Joe's, some were hoping for a Whole Foods, and many were hoping for a local mom & pop type grocery to grace our shores. The Island waited for the landlord to announce what would become of our downtown grocery location and the winter slowly ticked by. Eventually it was revealed that Stop & Shop was taking over the space and the chain store's local monopoly will be maintained. This news was generally met by the island folk with a sense of disappointment mixed with resignation. "At least it will still be a grocery store" seemed to be the general attitude.
But not for everyone. At the same time this was going on, some islanders had already begun to dream about another, better option for Nantucket. Many communities have successful grocery co-ops. Consumer owned, democratically controlled, and committed to their members' health, wellness, and access to information about what they consume, these co-ops give the community a better selection of products at lower prices than the for-profit chain stores can. Committed to the consumer instead of to the distributors and corporate shareholders, a co-op gives the consumer control over what is in their fridge and pantry, whether that means local, or organic, or simply conventional but less expensive. Co-ops such as these are huge success stories all over the country and the world, from the tiniest rural communities in the midwest to Brooklyn, New York. So why not on Nantucket?
Early this spring, this small group recruited a few more like-minded islanders and began to organize and brainstorm. They established themselves as the Founder's Committee of the Nantucket Community Food Co-op, held a series of meetings, wrote up a mission statement, created a website and Facebook page, and began the process of learning how to go about creating a cooperative grocery store for Nantucket. If the Nantucket Community wants this, it will happen. The foundation has been laid and the only thing that can stop it now is apathy.
Our mission statement:
Nantucket Community Food Co-op will be a member-owned and operated community grocery store, open to the public, committed to providing access to affordable, healthy food, and promoting awareness and education about nutrition and health.
Our Founder’s Committee:
We are the Founder's Committee of the Nantucket Community Food Co-op, and if you would like to see our Co-op become a reality, we invite you to get involved and help us. We will need funding and volunteers to help us get to the point where we can incorporate as a cooperative business and begin to accept members. We will be holding "meet and greets", fundraisers, educational meetings, and there is a garden party happening this Father's Day. Donations are tax deductible. Volunteers for our events will be much appreciated.
*There will be a silent auction to benefit the Nantucket Community Food Co-Op, ending this weekend on May 26. Bids are being accepted for this beautiful painting by Kathleen Kelliher. Sosebee Studio, 8 Washington St., Nantucket. May 25-26. Final bid, 4 PM. 5/26. Phone bids will be accepted. 508-228-0014. Hours: Monday - Saturday 9:30am to 5:30pm, Sunday 11am - 5pm
Island Pastoral by Kathleen Potter Kelliher. A $ 1200 value, starting bid $500
The Nantucket Community Food Co-Op is inviting all of you to a Garden Party June 16, Fathers Day – a Sunday afternoon gathering to meet one another and enjoy the sunshine. At “The Gardens – Nantucket Wildflower” 84 Egan Lane. (Off Old South Road)
We are now able to accept tax-deductable donations via The Nantucket Community Foundation.
Donations can be sent to:
The Nantucket Community Foundation
PO Box 78
Nantucket, MA 02554.
(Please note “Nantucket Co-op” on your donation.)
Let us hear from you! What would YOU like to see at a Nantucket Community Food Coop, and what would you like to do to help it happen?