By Melissa Wagoner
In 2018 the Silverton Food Co-op initiated a capital campaign that they hoped would raise the funds necessary to open a brick-and-mortar store in Silverton. Although those efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, the organization’s mission, to make healthy, locally sourced and sustainably grown food available for everyone, has continued – just in a slightly altered way.
“We do quirky and weird really well, so why not embrace that?” Director Karyssa Dow said of the group’s decision to take a step back from their ultimate goal – which continues to be a future storefront – and instead bring local food to the community now through a series of pop-up co-ops.
“We don’t need a fancy magazine-worthy grocery store,” Dow said, describing the first pop-up, which was held Dec. 16 at the Silverton Grange and stocked with bulk items like hazelnuts, apples and honey purchased from local growers and sold at a fair price.
“This is how things started in the ’70s – buying things in bulk and dividing them,” Dow explained. “And maybe one day, in ten to 15 years we can have a grocery store.”
For now, she’s just excited to take a step back from the initial focus on membership and fundraising and instead bring the focus back to the food.
“[People] can still sign up to be an owner but we’re not doing a push for owners,” Dow said. “Right now, we’re just trying to excite the owners we have.”