West Colfax Community Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands

From the West Colfax Food Co-op:

The West Colfax community is taking matters into their own hands-an example of the power of communities helping to architect their own neighborhoods with the goal of making them healthier, inclusive and more communal.

We appreciate our urban neighborhoods for what it offers us, opportunities, access to resources and amenities. But in urban environments we have to be more intentional in growing and nurturing our communities. This goes beyond our immediate friend circles, or being neighborly, it means attending your local neighborhood or HOA meeting, volunteering for the things that matter to you to help shape how you want to live. We forget we have to be intentional because our immediate needs seem met. But here is where the power lies, in people coming together to build what they want to see in their own neighborhoods.

For the community of West Colfax, it looks like access to fresh healthy affordable food that is also representative of the diverse culture and community of the neighborhood. In the two and a half years that the co-op has been in existence, board members, with the help of passionate volunteers have been successful in obtaining grant funds for community outreach, a retail market study and planning analysis. Today the West Colfax Co-op now has a clearer understanding of what needs to be done in order to actualize their vision.

One of the biggest obstacles the co-op has overcome is trying to find creative ways of making a traditional co-op model profitable enough to survive in a neighborhood where it is difficult to find reasonably priced retail space. The development of a hybrid market model is what they are hoping will solve this dilemma. The concept combines a traditional co-op model with a vendor market model-a la Avanti, or Denver Central Market. The co-op hopes the vendor spaces will help to generate more revenue to allow them to access retail space on West Colfax as well as being culturally representative of the diverse food offerings in the area.

Now all the co-op needs to do is attract more members and investment capital…this can seem like a tall order but the co-op is engaging in a combination of grass roots efforts with more entrepreneurial tactics. As an added bonus new members will be able to access farm fresh goods from High Plains co-op, a producer based co-op that is linking regional farmers directly to consumers.

Find out more by visiting http://westcolfaxfoodcoop.org

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