Berlin gauges interest in food cooperative
A crowd of about 60 people attended a meeting Wednesday night to discuss a proposed food cooperative in Berlin. (DEBRA THORNBLAD)
“This area has food issues,” Laflamme said. “We don’t have a lot of food choices, other than the farmers’ market. People want more food choices, and they want it year-round.”
The Littleton Cooperative opened in 2009 and broke even in its third year, Claflin said. By its fourth year it was making a small profit, and in a few years they expect to be able to pay dividends to members. Concord is also home to a cooperative grocery, and a group in Manchester has been seeking members to establish one.
“The biggest challenge was that people didn’t understand what a cooperative was, what power a community can have with its own store, he said. “A cooperative is owned by its members. It’s a hard concept for people to understand, but it really and truly is how it works.”
After the public meeting the next step was to get a few people together and form a board of directors, which then commissioned a feasibility study.
There are different kinds of cooperatives, Claflin said. Hanover is a hybrid, about 50 percent organic and the rest regular food. That’s the model Littleton followed, but Berlin could decide on something different.
After the feasibility study, the next step was raising the $7.5 million needed to make the project happen. They raised $500,000 from a Community Development Block Grant, then another $500,000 through loans, about 120 of them, from the community, some as small as $1,000. With $1 million in hand, they went to the bank to get the rest of the money needed. Those community loans will be paid off by the end next year, Claflin said.
It takes four shares to be able to vote.
There are special events where there are discounts for members, a day each week for discounts for seniors and the cooperative does accept food stamps.
- Who will come out on top in the Fairpoint strike?
- Total Votes: 1118
Derry holiday parade to be held today
Man allegedly tries to run over officer in Manchester, police van crashes while responding
Hot deals, warm shoppers
Day Three in the dark for many in NH
Hamilton's OT goal wins for Bruins