First Community Visioning Session a Success

We had a productive first Community Visioning Session on Thursday, 8/29/2019, facilitated by Jonah Fertig-Burd of the Cooperative Development Institute with assistance from Colin Brown of the Sunrise County Economic Council. This was the first of two meetings that we’re holding to help assess our community’s needs around local & organic food and to generate ideas for what the future of a food Co-op might look like.

There were many ideas put forward in both discussions and through a series of exercises where attendees posted ideas on sticky notes. The first topic was:

What do you like about ELEC?

The list of things people like about the Co-op included:

  • FOOD (x2)
  • Fresh Veggies & Produce
  • Nutrient-dense food access
  • Organic local meat
  • Access to Local Food
  • Access to Fresh Food
  • Grassroots Food System
  • Organic Local food available
  • Good organic food
  • Location (downtown)
  • Heart of the Town
  • Team effort
  • Anne
  • A lovely little shop – always a pleasure
  • Meeting place
  • Community (x 3)
  • Working together
  • People “community” working together
  • Friends
  • Children
  • Communication
  • Organic vs local
  • Visualizing ourselves bigger than we are, inviting the future
  • Good concept: Can we multi use the network & deepen its impact in more realms than shopping
  • I can walk/bike there!
  • Time Saved Driving
  • Engagement on Naturalism, land stewardship. Nature resource enterprise w/ Sipayik?
  • Farm Fresh Rewards
  • Supporting local farmers (x2)
  • Local economy
  • new ideas

Community Needs

The meetings participants generated a list of community needs:

  • Create an efficient, sustainable system for local food
  • Fresh local foods in schools
  • Need it to be affordable
  • How to overcome the perception that it’s too expensive/education about nutritional value
  • Raise awareness
  • Access to humanely raised meat
  • Paying the cost of true food
  • Environmentally responsible
  • Driving far to get local food doesn’t feel sustainable
  • Putting money into our local economy
  • Supporting the community, neighborhood, local farmers
  • Supporting Producer needs: transportation, distribution. Local retail outlet
  • help local producers prep their product for consumption (product development)
  • RELIABLE OUTLET FOR PRODUCERS, reliable source for consumers
  • Producer need: food Storage
  • Augment local gardens
  • Year-round access to local foods
  • Free produce
  • Ways to engage elders/seniors
  • Community Building
  • Barter system
  • Better serve & connect with the Passamaquoddy community
  • More people, more volunteers, more farmers


Many interesting visions for the future of the Co-op surfaced during this part of the session, including:

  • Multi-farm CSA
  • A Co-op Cafe/Store
  • A Food Truck
  • A Food Boat
  • A boat-based regional food system
  • A Buying Club w/ monthly dues & a minimum number of active members
  • Boat-based food storage barge
  • Environmentally Responsible Foods

Next Steps

Jonah is compiling the information from this meeting and reaching out to stakeholders to conduct individual interviews. Jonah will also be researching ideas generated from the visioning sessions and similar models.

Another Community Visioning meeting will be held, perhaps in conjunction with ELEC’s annual meeting some time most likely in October. Stay tuned here at the website for updates.

1 Comment

  1. Kim Roos

    Looks good and Garden Side Dairy will be waiting to hear more! Miss you all. Take care. Kim and crew


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