Grocery Co-op, Kitchen To Sprout In Redding

  

It's been called the slow food or whole food or organic food movement. Whatever you call it, it's continuing to gain momentum across the country and here in the north state as well.

The latest and most exciting development is the North Valley Co-op, which is planning to open on July 1 on the alley side of the Cascade Square building, on the southeast corner of Placer and California streets in downtown Redding.

The co-op would consist of a whole foods grocery store, featuring food and products from area farmers, ranchers and producers. It would also include a community kitchen utilized by the Healthy Lunch & Lifestyles Project for area schools, farmers, area chefs and co-op members. The kitchen will also be used for cooking and nutrition classes.

The co-op will fill a large, warehouse-style space on the rear side of the Craig Kraffert's Cascade Square building. The endeavor is a collaboration between Healthy Shasta (a multi-agency task force), Slow Food Shasta Cascade, Healthy Lunch Project and a number of interested area residents. Co-op members would own the business, and a steering committee would oversee it.

A fundraiser and membership kick-off event is set for 6 p.m. May 15 at the co-op. The event will include an "Iron Chef"-style cookoff featuring chefs Cal DeMercurio of Rivers Restaurant, Che Stedman of Moonstone Bistro, and Wes Matthews of Market Street Steakhouse. (Anewscafe.com's own Doni Greenberg will be a judge for the event.) Tickets are $40 and available here.

An assortment of factors have pushed people toward buying and eating locally grown whole foods and products. Most believe the food tastes better and is more healthy because it's not mass produced or heavily processed. There's also the satisfaction of knowing you're supporting area farmers and producers, and, thus, the local economy.

The North Valley Co-op will work with growers who are generally within a 200-mile radius of Redding, said Bridgette Brick-Wells, administrator of the Healthy Lunch & Lifestyles Project and a member of the steering committee.

The co-op is pushing for one-time, $50 memberships for the endeavor. Residents won't need a membership to shop at the co-op, but the membership will come with discount incentives. Getting a large base of members will help the co-op keep its prices down, Brick-Wells added.

Having a consistent outlet for their products, beyond the weekend farmers' markets, seems like a good deal for area producers. The markets are a good place to sell, but they can also be time-consuming. Growers and producers need time to work on their crops and produce their products.

The co-op store will also feature a deli and bakery, and be an outlet for other locally produced products like art, music CDs, books and more.

For those who have fallen in love with co-ops in cities like Chico, Arcata and Ashland, the looming North Valley Co-op certainly seems like an exciting prospect. In addition to Orchard Nutrition Center, Trader Joe's, a pair of organic food delivery services (Country Organics and Churn Creek Meadow Organic Farm), and the large Saturday farmers' market at City Hall, it appears Shasta County is pretty hip to the organic, whole foods movement.

A local showing of the documentary "Food, Inc." attracted some 500 people. It seems more folks are realizing every day the importance of putting healthy foods into their bodies.

And, like a lot of things, how did we ever get so far away from that ethic?

jim-dyar-125Jim Dyar is a news, arts and entertainment journalist for A News Cafe and the former arts and entertainment editor for the Record Searchlight's D.A.T.E. section. Jim is also a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding. E-mail him at jimd.anewscafe@gmail.com.

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20 Responses »

  1. This is very exciting! We got used to Whole Foods Market in San Diego. Only problem there was the high cost of everything in the store. Hopefully being a co-op will help keep costs down.

  2. This co-op will be a smash hit. We look forward to purchasing local foods at convenient times. Be prepared for a crowd of people!

  3. Sounds intriguing.

  4. I am in! Can't wait.

  5. I've missed being part of a co op and am so pleased it's here. We've already sent in our membership.

    Also, The Igo/Ono Farmers Market starts May 6th 3p-6p. Please join us.

  6. Wonderful! A a dedicated Saturday Farmer's Market patron for over twenty years, I am looking forward to this new, year-round Co op.

  7. I first was turned on to the idea of the importance of locally grown foods when I saw Barbara Kingsolver (the Poisonwood Bible) interviewed regarding the book she had written about their families' commitment to living a year on only what they could produce or what was grown within a specific distance of their home . . . 50 miles I seem to remember. Their two exceptions were coffee and bananas. What a fascinating book.

    The interviewer asked her if they had made it through the year and she laughingly replied that they enjoyed that mode of living so much they forgot to keep track of the time and are continuing the practice.

    Yet another sign of our growing-up community!! It's exciting!!

    • That's an interesting example of the shift a lot of people are making. What's great is that the movement is taste and health driven.
      I can't help but have an expectation of our co-op developing into something similar to what they have in Arcata or Ashland.

  8. This is exciting news for Redding! In spite of my impending August move, I think I will have to join in to support this venture. I love what I see happening here and want to learn all I can before I head to the coast for my own "back to the earth" adventure.

  9. This is very exciting and we are definitely on board. My plea to the local community is to participate in this endeavor and support it ongoing!

  10. We are looking forward to being co-op members and think this is just the right thing to happen in downtown Redding. We will be supporters.

  11. As a post-Seattleite, I intend to support the new co-op with a membership. Glad to see Redding taking another local healthy food direction

    A hopeful foodie who planted her tomatoes two weeks ago.

  12. This sounds great. Count me in!

  13. Thank you so much for writing this article Jim! We at the North State Co-op Steering Committee are working hard to towards our goal of opening our doors to members and the public in early July, together we are making this Co-op happen! All the positive feedback from the community is so inspiring, and YOU all are doing the most important part by becoming members and supporting this project! We will be sending out our fist newsletter very soon, updating all of you who have expressed interest, or already become members on our progress and announcing a date for a community meeting in June at the Co-op's new downtown location! Please email us at info@northvalleycoop.org if you have any questions, and again, thanks for your support!

    Guenn Johnsen-Gentry
    North Valley Co-op Steering Committee http://www.northvalleycoop.org

  14. Redding needs this! I hope the co-op promotes awareness and education on the importance of healthy eating. I am thrilled and intend to support it, but I do hope this does not hurt the businesses of long time : Orchard Nutrition and Enterprise Health Foods!

  15. Jim, How about an update on the No. Valley Co-Op. Did they open on July 1st? Thank you!! pj

  16. All in can't wait for opening,we are blessed in north state with great food .

  17. SO happy to see that my 2oo mile food challenge will be all in one spot !!!! No more driving around Redding CA for all my organic and local foods!!!!

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