Local Motive: Spring opening?

November 2014 Posted in Community, Food & Drink
Silverton food co-op
Silverton food co-op
On Facebook as Local Motive
Stacy Higby, 503-581-3182;
Elyse McGowan Kidd, 503-453-3698

By Brenna Wiegand

At one time or another, frequenters of Silverton Farmer’s Market have probably engaged in or heard wistful discussion of forming a local food co-op.

About two years ago, Stacy Higby and Elyse McGowan Kidd decided to stop talking and do something. Now they’ve launched Local Motive, a member-owned food cooperative destined for downtown.

Higby and husband Mike have Forest Meadow Farm where they raise chickens and produce they’ve sold at the Silverton Farmer’s Market since it opened in 2001.

“Our ability to grow food here is just amazing, but our little town doesn’t have a little co-op,” Higby said. “I grew up in Boulder, Colo., a very down-to-earth sort of hippy place. Natural food stores and health food stores were the norm.”

They thought of securing an indoor location to extend the market’s season. “…but in talking to the farmers they wanted more than that; they wanted a place where they could market their products on a more regular basis – and not necessarily sit around and babysit them.”

Elyse McGowan Kidd and husband Ryan Kidd form a graphic design and web development team known as Artemis NW. Ryan came up with the “Local Motive” name and Elyse created a logo.

Then, on Oct. 17 the group launched a campaign on the do-it-yourself fund-raising website www.gofundme.com that has raised 66 percent of the $2,500 needed to develop the Local Motive website. They’ve started selling memberships and that has gone well, too.

“It’s really important for us to have the co-op be sustainable through member-ships; we don’t want to continue fund-raising drives every year,” Higby said.

A $150 membership covers a household and includes a vote in co-op decisions. Members receive a store discount and, as owners, share profits. The group is seeking a location in hopes of a spring opening.

“There are several frontrunners, but we feel that getting the business structure, the finances and the membership all solidified is our first step,” Higby said. “We have been looking almost exclusively at downtown spaces accessible to people who are walking or riding their bikes.”

Local Motive’s vision includes community events such as classes on gluten-free cooking or container gardening. “Helping people with things like producing more of their own food or eating healthy on a tight budget are great and in keeping with our mission,” Higby said.

Though small family farms and other local producers make up the co-op’s core, its leaders will approach vendors of all sizes and wholesalers to help them build a bulk food section.

“We’ve got a bunch of growers with greenhouses that will sustain us all year, but it’ll be largely seasonal,” Higby noted. “It’s really important to have a co-op that supports our local growers and it’s really important for us to eat locally, and that means eating seasonally.”

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