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Food co-op development under exploration

Just a little food for thought; figuratively speaking, of course.

A local effort is in the formative stages examining the feasibility of a potential food cooperative operation in Lakeview.

Audrey Henry, economic development specialist with the South Central Oregon Economic Development District, said that the effort stems from widespread public frustration with a lack of a second grocery store in town.

Henry cited extensive efforts in attempting to attract another store in town, but current economic conditions have made it difficult.  In many cases, prospective candidates claimed that Lakeview is simply too small for a second store.

Henry said that establishing such an operation would afford locals an additional food-purchasing option, ranging from produce to meat and potentially beyond.  She said that preliminary conversations have garnered interest from Ross and Kelly McGarva to utilize Lakeview Lockers as a drop-off and distribution site.

Henry said that such a food cooperative operation would require an annual membership fee to cover the costs of food purchases.

Kelly McGarva confirmed this proposal and voiced her support of the endeavor as a vehicle for helping to revitalize the local economy.  The Lockers would only provide a site location and would not be involved with its management, she said.

“For our part, it’s mostly an offer of our facility and (access to) our vendors,” she said.

McGarva noted that the long-term impacts of customers taking their grocery shopping out of the community are detrimental from a local economy standpoint.

Members would possibly have the opportunity to purchase items in bulk at wholesale prices, Henry said.

For more information or to comment on the proposal, contact SCOEDD representative Audrey Henry at 541-947-6013.

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