I am BEYOND excited to announce that an inspired group of people are planning to build a vegan co-op in the center of San Diego in an under-served community. San Diego has just one co-op, People’s Organic Foods Market, and it’s located in a beach community that is not easily accessible to many. I make the trek over there about every 4-6 weeks to refill all my bulk purchases. I plan on donating to this Kickstarter project and I hope you will donate, too.
The San Diego Public Market in Barrio Logan recently achieved their Kickstarter goal, and it’s exciting to see so many wonderful food-related entrepreneurial projects happening in San Diego to make it a healthy, locally grown community for all of our citizens. The project is led by Mitch Wallis, owner of Evolution Fast Food in Hillcrest/Banker’s Hill.
Read on to see how YOU can help make this amazing project a reality. If the Kickstarter doesn’t fund they will need an angel investor to make this a reality, so let’s do this!
I had the chance to meet the Board of Directors, who have an exciting vision for this space, a former car dealership that’s next to the only alternative fuel station in San Diego. I did a Q & A with them:
How did all of you meet?
We all are involved in animal rights activities in the county, and also attend events for the vegan community.
Why a “vegan” co-op?
Well, we’re all vegans and while we don’t mind shopping at People’s or other grocery stores, it would be great to shop at a store that doesn’t include any animal products at all. We also envision it as a one-stop shopping location. Most of us have to visit several stores to get everything we need. We hope this store will carry everything. The central location right off the I-15 and near the I-8 will allow us to serve East County and La Mesa, which both have very active vegan communities.
What’s a co-op?
A co-op is owned by the members. It’s a nonprofit, meaning that we can keep prices at the absolute lowest possible. While non-members are welcome and encouraged to shop here, it’s a little cheaper for members.
Do I have to be a vegan to shop here? Will I feel welcome?
EVERYONE is welcome and we hope to make everyone feel comfortable in the store. We hope to offer greeters, trained like museum docents, roaming the store to help answer shoppers’ questions, find items that are truly suited to them and their health needs, and wade through the array of products available. We envision the mission to be highly educational, not just a store.
What’s special about this building?
Besides having a great space and location, there is an auditorium that seats 65 people, so we’ll be able to offer classes three days a week. We plan on building a restaurant mezzanine, which will also have a cooking demonstration island, juice and tonic bar, and a deli. There is also free parking for over 100 cars, there will be an outdoor patio out front for seating, and we plan on eventually building a rooftop garden to grow our own items for the deil.
What kinds of items will you sell?
We’ll have all the regular grocery items, personal care, bulk foods, clothing, freshly prepared foods, herbs and supplements, and even tonics and tinctures. We plan on having an internship program where people studying herbology and plant pharmacology can work, serving customers.
When do you open?
We’re shooting for Spring 2013, if we fund the Kickstarter project.
So San Diego, it’s time to make this wonderful dream a reality! Even $5 will help. Can’t wait to start shopping!