Jessy Goble believes in the power of food co-ops to do good things in communities. Jessy is the new Outreach Coordinator for the Free Range Food Co-op in Grand Rapids. Free Range is in its organizing phase (“We’re at stage 2-B,” says Jessy). The co-op plans to open a physical store when all the organizing steps are completed, to assure that the store is sustainable.
Jessy Goble has worked in the cooperative realm since 2009. She comes to Grand Rapids from the Brainerd area, where she managed the Crow Wing Food Co-op and was part of its expansion. She knows from experience that some of the big advantages the Free Range Co-op will offer to the Grand Rapids community will be:
- The relationships it will foster with local growers and producers that will provide increased availability of fresh local food, beyond the farmers’ market season.
- The co-op will act as a community hub where people can find educational activities and get information.
- The co-op will also promote environmental stewardship and sustainability, and the concept of zero waste. Bulk food will be available, so customers can bring in refillable containers to reduce packaging.
Volunteers have played a big role since Free Range Co-op’s inception. As Outreach Coordinator, Jessy is looking for more volunteers to help with projects, or just to offer support and advice. “We have an office space in Old Central School, room 202. We’re open Mondays and Fridays from noon-5. It’d be nice to have somebody stop by and be a visitor or just come and hang out and have coffee and visit; maybe do some brainstorming. I’ll be reaching out to volunteers in time as we move forward with some events.”
Jessy reports that as of 12/18/19, 677 people have bought into the project as owners. The goal is 1,000-1,200 owners. Becoming an owner requires a one-time investment of $100. After the owner goal is met, Free Range will launch a capital campaign to build its store.
For a complete update about the co-op listen to the interview below. For information about ownership, see the Free Range Food Co-op website at freerangefood.coop, or search for their page on Facebook.