We had three new members tonight. Welcome to; Alma, Maryanne and Thelma. Was nice to see some new faces. Graham (from the Slaithwaite Co-op was interested in learning what our 'game' plan is. We told him about the land and what we hope to achieve with it and that it is a learning experience for all of us. We aim to keep it organic too.
Dave and Jake managed to get to the garden centre at Milnsbridge and saw Paddy Walsh who has donated about 20 bags of compost and a couple of gravel. He also gave us lots of packets of seeds which has saved us some where in the region of £300+. He said he will help us in any way he can. While they were there they saw 2 poly tunnels (45ft x 21ft) and frames so asked about them. Paddy said they would probably be selling them but to hang fire before buying them because it is possible that he might be able to get them for as little as £500. He also said he can get us some flower bulbs to make the land look nice, from Holland. Dave has since spoken to him and we are hoping to pick them up on Saturday morning.
We talked about putting together a committee. Mainly because we need one when trying to get grants and funding etc. It will be a very informal committee. We will see Pete about getting our own Oooby email adress too. Also in two weeks Maryanne will talk to us about putting together a mission statement and bring along some sample ones for us to look at. We have been advised to contact British Gas and Yorkshire to ask for donations of equipment because apparently they are good donating things. Karen will sort out a letter head. There is a website called Making Local Food Work
, that gives out free advice to groups such as ours.
Our guest speaker tonight was Graham Mitchell Slaithwaite who talked to us about their community co-op and how it came to be.
The idea came from Graham himself who has an office the green grocers shop. He thought it was such a shame that the shop was going to close and there would be no where for people to buy local produce. How long would it be before they lost other shops like the butchers, the bakers? and the village would be left with nothing but take-aways.
Although he wanted to keep the shop going he has no interest in being a green grocer, so his idea of the shop being community owned was developed. After doing all the research etc they could see that the shop would just be viable with not a great amount of profit. He also wanted to protect the jobs of those already working there and to promote the idea to the local people.
They have a democratic structure where no matter how many shares you buy you still only get one vote, and shares do not appreciate they are always on a par. For example: if you buy £100 of shares and then in 10 years time you decide to sell them, you will only get back your £100.
Their produce is grown locally as much as possible. Local people prefer local produce and it goes out of the shop quite quickly. He offered to take our surplus produce from us and sell it in the shop when we are ready.
He gave some information on where to go for free advice on business ideas and consultations.
It was a really good speach and we learned a lot...thankyou Graham.
Charlie gave us an update on the land. It has been mowed and the grass threshed ready to be baled up. He will go round the edges later to tidy it up and make it look good. We now need to decide where we go from here.