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General News · 23rd October 2012
Cortes Natural Food Co-op Named a Finalist in National Co-op Challenge!

For those of you who know about this contest, here is the link to our video - Heart of the Village.

For those of you who don't know about it, read on.

The Cortes Natural Food Co-op has been selected as one of six finalists from the West region in The Co-operators National Co-op Challenge. It is now up to the public to vote through Facebook to determine the winners – and the Cortes Natural Food Co-op is looking to engage both its local and virtual communities to help it earn a share of the $220,000 in available prize money.

The social media-based contest is designed to support small and expanding co-ops during 2012, The International Year of Co-operatives. Each finalist has produced a short video making their pitch, and voting is open to anyone with a Facebook account, through The Co-operators Facebook page. The three co-ops in each region with the most votes for their video will receive prizes of $30,000, $15,000 and $10,000 from The Co-operators to help them grow their business. A Grand Prize winner will also be drawn from the four regional finalists and will win extra resources to further support their organization.

The Cortes Natural Food Co-op is the “Heart of the Village” in Manson’s Landing on beautiful Cortes Island, British Columbia. Since 2003, the CNFC has grown from a food-buying club to a natural foods store and bakery with espresso bar, from a small office space in the back corner to a store and cafe that occupy approximately 4000 square feet, and from a handful of founding members to more than 750 families. The Co-op has become the place to shop for local, natural, and organic foods on the island.

The CNFC is at a critical point in its development because we are about to purchase the land which we occupy. This property is 2.8+ acres in downtown Manson’s Landing and includes a campground and community garden besides the Co-op building. Obviously, because of the property’s central location and the Co-op’s prominent role in the community, the members and workers expect the land purchase to yield several possibilities for CNFC to serve the community more than ever.

We entered the National Co-op Challenge in order to support the land purchase. This land has so many potential uses – community agriculture, food processing, even other types of co-operatives – that we need a thorough and effective process for deciding what to do with it. We have proposed a process that includes strategic planning, feasibility studies, and business planning.

Any funds that we win through the National Co-op Challenge would be used for taking our land one step closer to our overarching goal – the common good of our island community. As our video shows, we have so much happening on our land right now, and we’re ready to take it to the next level. So support us by voting for our video in the contest!

Public voting began October 22nd, and it’s up to YOU to choose a winner! To view the videos and vote for your favourite submissions, visit The Co-operators Facebook page before November 21st, and encourage everyone you know to go out and vote.

And here's the link for you to vote - Heart of the Village. Note that you need to log in to FaceBook in order to vote for our video. And please share this link far and wide - we need as many votes as we can! You can share this background article with your friends here.