Local co-op hopes to establish by 2020

Board president says they gathered around 60 to 70 owners, must still find suitable site



Destiny Sternod, president of the board of directors for the Good Food Co-op and co-owner of Main Street Squeeze, discusses starting a new business in Pullman following the gain of a $10,000 grant at the juice business on Tuesday.

CODY SCHOELER, Evergreen reporter

The Pullman Good Food Co-op board has started the process of establishing a cooperative in Pullman and they hope to settle by 2020.

Co-op board of directors president Destiny Sternod said they sold memberships at the Co-optastic Carnival event in September 2018 and gathered around 60 to 70 owners. Owners of the co-op are able to vote on board elections and policies.

“We have met and connected with so many amazing people in the area that, honestly, we would not be where we are at right now without them,” Sternod said.

She said most co-ops take five to seven years to start.

“We do realize that Pullman is sort of a transient town and things do have to happen kind of quickly for people to be super supportive of them,” Sternod said. “We are doing our best in working with our team to be able to open as soon as possible.”

She said the most important part of the process is finding a site. They have had communication with Port of Whitman about some land they have available that could suit what is desired.

“Things…we have heard that the community wants are things like classrooms and workshop areas for people to be able to do either cooking workshops or demos,” Sternod said. “Having some of the agriculture in the area literally outside of the door is a huge benefit that could come of this space.”

She said the mission of the co-op is to provide equitable access to healthy and affordable food. They also want to reach a wider population, specifically a lower income demographic.

A lot of cooperatives focus on being organic, she said, but the Good Food Co-op is going in another direction.

“Local is what we prefer to focus on,” Sternod said. “Really supporting local farmers, local producers to boost the local economy.”

Sternod said a lot of customers visit her and tell her they wished there was a food co-op in Pullman.

“Being able to tell them ‘We’re actually working on it and this is what we’re doing and this is where we’re at’ and just seeing their face light up has been the most rewarding thing,” Sternod said.