Our Roots: The Story of How We got Started
The Kodiak Harvest Food Co-op is a grassroots startup that stemmed from community input during the 2015 Kodiak Strong! Community Planning Day. Participants expressed their desire for a food co-op and, in February 2016, a steering committee was assembled to further develop the project. This group ran an initial community survey in the summer of 2016 that obtained 300 responses and confirmed the community’s desire for a new access point for local foods.
Healthy Tomorrows, a community wellness program by Providence Medical Center, then provided an $85,000 grant to assist cooperative’s initial development. These funds helped finance Kodiak Harvest Food Co-op’s incorporation on August 15, 2016, and a professional market study performed by Hambleton Resources the following September. This study formally and objectively assessed the demand for a Food Co-Op in the Kodiak Community through 200 interviews and review of secondary data. Among its key conclusions was the confirmation that there is indeed great interest in a new food store option in Kodiak.
A feasibility study then followed this assessment. The study was carried out by Cooperative Development Services (CDS) Consulting, a top association in the cooperative business development world with more than 20 years of experience. This study showed that given Kodiak’s population size and economic data, 500 members would be an ideal mark to show sufficient community support for cooperative banks and other cooperative development organizations and pursue financing.
The first official board was seated in February 2017 and its members have focused their efforts on further member recruitment, fundraising, and business planning. As of July of 2017, the cooperative reached 250 members and has strong ties to various potential producers and community stakeholders inside and out of the Kodiak Borough area.