Food co-operative to lose premises at start of March
AN ORGANIC food co-operative hoping to encourage Islanders to move to waste-free, sustainable grocery shopping is scrambling to find new premises just three months after it opened.
SCOOP has been operating from Vermont Farm in St Brelade since a successful membership drive last year led to its establishment with over 200 members.
But co-founders Kaspar Wimberley and India Hamilton were informed last week that the lease was being terminated at the shop and the co-op has to vacate by 4 March. Mr Wimberley said it was not entirely clear why the co-operative was being asked to leave but it had become evident in recent weeks that ‘the realities of having a busy farm shop on the site were no longer desired’.
It is a blow for the organisers who say they had been making steady inroads in the time since SCOOP opened in late October.
‘It’s been wonderful to see the SCOOP community grow and we have been excited by the interest that has been shown and the shopping experience that we offer,’ Mr Wimberley said. ‘We were able to employ a full-time member of staff and were broadening the range of products available.
‘We were also starting to invite school groups, run workshops and discussions, serve winter warming soups, present live acoustic sets with some of the Island’s musicians and host craft-making and apple-juicing sessions.’
The organisers believe that the shop’s early success proves that the concept is viable in Jersey.
‘In a short space of time we have demonstrated that our concept can work financially and has the potential to grow in the future, with the view to developing a fund that can help develop infrastructures that will allow organic farming in Jersey to thrive,’ Mr Wimberley said.
Despite the setback, the organisers remain committed to their enterprise and are seeking new premises as soon as possible.
‘We are a thriving community that runs a busy and successful farm shop,’ Mr Wimberley said. ‘We need at least 100m2 of floor space, in addition to storage for both dried and fresh produce and ample parking. A commercial production kitchen would be a bonus.
‘We are also looking at distribution as an interim solution that will enable us to service the whole Island.’
He added that, should the shop be forced to close for any period of time, memberships would be paused while SCOOP found a new way forward. The shop will continue to operate until March and new members are welcomed. ‘If anybody feels that they can help, or has an idea for the perfect location, we would love to hear from you,’ Mr Wimberley said.
The JEP contacted Vermont Farm but they did not wish to comment on the matter.