Is Island ripe for new type of market?

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To the Editor:

Over the past several years, I have heard lots of discussion from Island residents about their dissatisfaction with the quality of food choices, the condition of the grocery stores, the lack of year-round options, and especially the prices that working residents struggle to pay.

This dialogue seems to have reached a crescendo in the past week. As Islanders, we need to start a new discussion about how the Island community will work together to build something better. It is time for the Island to have its own food cooperative grocery store. Food cooperatives are beautiful, new, state-of-the-art, full-service grocery stores. They offer local produce and products, delis and bakeries, salads and hot bars, coffee, and community cafes where locals can gather to eat and chat. Communities all over New England have food cooperative grocery stores that empower their residents in food choices, pricing, and local sourcing.

You don’t have to be a member to shop at a food cooperative, and everyone pays the same prices. Members do enjoy special discounts and profit sharing, but for a lifetime membership of only $200. Since these grocery stores are not-for-profit, pricing is fair, and employees are paid livable wages with benefits. Food cooperatives seek out and source local produce and give local agricultural workers a stable venue to sell their products year-round.

Control over our own food sources is vital to a healthy community. Please help. We’re talking about a nonprofit grocery store owned by Islanders; a market study is needed to get this project started. If everyone contributes what they can afford, we can do it. Visit our GoFundMe page or on Facebook at Martha’s Market food cooperative. And if you want to get involved, please email us at marthasmarketfc@gmail.com.

 

Lucinda Kirk Linn

Chilmark

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Co- ops will raise prices because they don’t have scale or scope. Grocery stores have very thin margins and they are profitable due to huge volumes and leverage over suppliers. Cronigs doesn’t have scale but he adjusts with high prices and doesn’t have enough competition to marginalize him. The Cronig model would fail in a bigger city on the mainland.

    • Cooperative Grocery Markets actually do have economy of scale because there are thousands nationwide. And they are all connected and buy as a group, even though they are owned by the community where they reside. They are also Not For Profit which keeps costs down. In any event, the prices would certainly not be more expensive than other Island markets. Even better, We (Islanders) would own it, the summer season profits would be returned to the members and our community. Here is an interesting link I found that speaks about the success and economy of Co-op Markets, http://www.nfca.coop/OurStory.

      • Thanks for that excellent link which describes populism in it’s finest application, and exposes the folly of globalization. In that kind of thinking we can see the intersection of Bernie Sanders supporters and those of Donald Trump. Make America great again one local economy at a time, starting with our own island and collective love and trust for one another. Make Martha’s Vineyard healthy and affordable again!

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