Revelstoke not ready for a food co-op

Revelstoke Food Co-op Feasibility Study from Community Connections reveals we need to boost our number of local growers before we can consider creating a food co-op.

Glass art interspersed with veggies at the new RVAC community garden. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

While Revelstoke sources most of its food from outside (91 per cent from over 250 kilometres away), we’re not at the stage of needing a local food co-op.

Revelstoke’s Food Security Strategy identifies a food co-op as a way to help the city become more food secure and a food co-op store would be owned and governed by its members, encouraging a vibrant and sustainable local agricultural economy. But according to a recent Revelstoke Food Co-op Feasibility Study from Community Connections, we’re not there yet.

With just six local producers for our local population of 7,192 (Government of BC, 2015), the report concludes that Revelstoke does not have sufficient market opportunity for this type of venture to succeed.

“With few growers in the area it is hard to boost the supply of local food and the creation of new growers and producers should be a focus before a food co-op could be beneficial,” the report states.

Gourmet grocery Le Marché sells food from local producers.
Gourmet grocery Le Marché sells food from local producers.

Creating of a local food co-op could also negatively affect local business sales, such as the Le Marché Gourmet grocery, which opened last year.

“The city is not in as much need for such a service as it was a few years ago,” the report states.

“Although the interest for local and regional food continues to rise in Revelstoke, most of our current food suppliers are making great efforts to fulfill that demand.”

Instead of a food co-op, the report recommends focusing on creating programs to train and mentor new growers. It also recommends support to develop new agricultural businesses as financial constraints and access to land are the biggest challenges facing new farmers.

Historically, Revelstoke used to have a food co-op in operation from 1921-1985. Information from the Revelstoke Museum and Archives shows that we had over 200 farms within a 50 miles radius, but construction of three hydroelectric dams flooded most of our agricultural land.

Revelstoke’s Local Food Initiative and Community Connections’ food security coordinator Melissa Hemphill currently work to grow Revelstoke’s food scene.

Read the Revelstoke Food Co-op Feasibility Study by Cynthia Routhier and Jackie Morris.

Local producers in Revelstoke

  • Terra Firma
  • Nadja Luckau
  • Bird Bee Tree Urban Farms
  • Greenslide Cattle Co.
  • Wildflight Farm
  • D-Dutchman Dairy
  • Other back yard gardeners who may be or soon will be selling produce to retailers.

Revelstoke Processors

  • The Modern Bakeshop & Café
  • La Baguette
  • Revy Mountain Meals
  • BA Sausages
  • Kurt’s Sausages
  • Ray’s Butcher Shop
  • Wild Game Processors
  • Stoke Roasted Coffee Company
  • Clayoquot Botanicals
  • Mt Begbie Brewery
  • Revelstoke Farmers Market Vendors (specifically those selling fruit, vegetables, preserves and baked goods)

Revelstoke Food Suppliers

  • Southside Market
  • Save On Foods (formerly Cooper’s Foods)
  • Big Eddy Market
  • Mountain Goodness Natural Food Store
  • Le Marche Gourmet
  • Revelstoke Farmers Market (summer)
  • Revelstoke Winter’s Market
  • Dolan Home Delivery