The Hillsboro Food Co-op is a community-owned grocery store with no outside shareholders. Its goal is to bring fresh, local, and affordable produce to Hillsboro. Read on to learn more about how co-ops benefit communities, and about how you can be involved!
What is the name of your organization and what do you do?
Hillsboro Food Co-op is a community-owned grocery store startup coming to Downtown Hillsboro. The mission of the Co-op is to provide healthy, high-quality, affordable food to Hillsboro and its surrounding area while also serving as a community gathering place. The Co-op will emphasize productsfrom local, sustainable, and socially responsible sources, and it will work to build connections between customers and their farmers and other local suppliers.
When and how was the Co-op founded?
Hillsboro Food Co-op was incorporated in September 2013, and the membership drive began in May 2014. Before a food co-op can open, there needs to be a lot of community buy-in! Currently a handful of volunteers devote their time to outreach and membership recruitment. With the purchase of a $200 member share, an individual becomes a member-owner and literally owns his or her community grocery store! And membership has benefits: Discounts at the grocery store once it’s open, profits being returned to member-owners as patronage dividends, and the ability to vote in elections and run for the board of directors are all great perks! Once Hillsboro Food Co-op has 300 member-owners, the Co-op can move onto the Feasibility Stage where storefront options are considered, a market study is completed, and a business plan is started. After that, typically food co-ops progress relatively quickly toward construction and opening day!
What led you to start a Co-op?
Hillsboro Food Co-op has grown out of a need for year-round access to healthy, local food in Hillsboro. Member-owners all have their own reasons for joining, but common reasons include: Supporting local farmers and producers, desiring responsibly-produced food, having an accessible grocery store in Downtown Hillsboro, loving to build community, and hoping to see people of all income levels be able to eat healthy food.
What is the most unique thing about the Co-op?
Being community-owned! How often do community members get to collectively choose what type of business comes to town? Since there are no outside shareholders, profits are not the biggest motive, so food co-ops tend to be values-driven and a great addition to a community.
What is your favorite thing about being a co-op?
Hillsboro Food Co-op is bringing people together to do good for our community. That’s what being a cooperative is about.
How long have you been involved in the farmer’s market?
Hillsboro Food Co-op first had a booth at the farmers’ market in 2013. We have come a long way since then!
What is your favorite thing about the farmer’s market?
The farmers’ market is a lively place filled with people who are interested in knowing who their farmers are and supporting the great farmland we have nearby. We love when people make a beeline to our booth because they had not heard about the Co-op yet, and they are so excited to see that one is coming to town! Hillsboro Food Co-op and the farmers’ market have similar missions and values, so it is great to connect to so many co-op minded people in one place!
Where can people find you online (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, other social media platforms, blogs, websites, etc.)?
Hillsboro Food Co-op is on Facebook (Hillsboro Food Co-op) and Twitter (@hillsborocoop), and you can also visit the Co-op website www.hillsborofood.coop.