What is Friends & Farmers Co-op?
- F&F is a cooperative business and group of community members working toward opening a modern grocery store, open 7 days a week, that will focus heavily on sourcing food and items from local farmers and producers.
- F&F has launched an Online Market as a stepping-stone to opening the brick and mortar grocery store.
- F&F is in the membership-drive phase of development. We currently have 417 (as of Jan '16) owner-members. A membership pertains to a household.
- The co-op currently consists of 5 part-time employees; Outreach Coordinator, Online Market Manger, Assistant Online Market Manager, Grant Administrator (USDA Local Food Promotion Grant) and a Marketing Manager (USDA Local Food Promotion Grant). We have a 9-member Board of Directors (all volunteer) and a handful of dedicated volunteers. We are all working very hard, on a nearly all-volunteer basis, to make this store happen!
What Friends & Farmers is NOT:
- We are not a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Through a CSA, individual farms offer a share of the food they produce, giving its members a portion of that share on a weekly basis. Friends & Farmers is working to open a grocery store that will source from multiple local farmers and producers. You will be able to come into the store and buy as much or as little as you need, just like at any other grocery store. Anyone can shop—not just our members.
- We are not just an online store. Well, for now, we are. But the long-term goal is to open a store. The Online Market gets us closer by raising visibility, deepening our relationships with farmers and giving us actual experience selling and marketing local food.
- We are not a seasonal famers market. We love seasonal farmers markets, and still want you to shop at them. But, we will not close in the winter. Just like other grocery stores in town, we will be open yearlong. (Yes, you CAN get local spinach in February!)
Where will the Co-op be?
- We can sign a lease on commercial real estate once we reach 800 owner-members. Right now we have 417 owner-members. Until enough community members invest in this vision, we can’t move ahead with the next phase of our development. We need 1,300 owner-members to open the doors.
- We have an active Site Selection Committee that has been actively looking at real estate for about a year now. While there are some viable candidates for a potential location, we cannot proceed until we have more capital. While we haven’t selected a site, we know the store will be in State College. We also know that the store will be on the public bus line, accessible by car and bicycle and offer ample parking.
What can I do to help?
- The most meaningful impact is through membership. Invest in your community and become a member! We have three payment plans, choose which one is right for you (admin/processing fees apply). Go to our website to join easily online: www.friendsandfarmers.coop/become_an_owner_member
- If you’re already a member, tell your friends and neighbors about this growing movement. Right now, if every current member recruited 1 (ONE!) new member, we would be able to sign a lease agreement!
- Join us at events and farmers markets to meet potential new members and help spread the word. www.friendsandfarmers.coop/list_of_events
- Wear a F&F shirt or hat! Get people talking about the co-op by wearing some F&F merch. We have a new online store: www.friendsandfarmers.coop/f_f_merch
- Send this promotional material out on list-serves. Share our Facebook posts. Distribute our brochures and Online Market post cards to help educate folks! Contact Stacey Budd, Outreach Coordinator, for supplies. email@example.com