The Fort Collins Downtown Business Authority (DBA) is actively soliciting input from local citizens regarding what should be done with the historic Trolley Barn on South Howes Street. Presently, a Denver-based brewery is fiercely completing against the Fort Collins Food Co-Op for that location.
We need people to contact the mayor and City Council members urging them to make sure the Fort Collins Food Co-Op gets the lease on the Trolley Barn. Here are all the details you need to know before you get in touch with them!
If the Food Co-Op gets the Trolley Barn lease, it plans to expand to a full-fledge Cooperative Community Market. This will be much more than just an organic grocery store – it will be a central community hub where:
Consumers can buy organic food and locally sourced goods
Farmers can sell their locally grown produce and craftspeople can display and sell their wares
Residents can attend health, nutrition, and cooking classes
Those interested in the food and restaurant business can get hands-on job training
Artists can exhibit their work
Low-income residents and senior can get free, healthy meals
Non-profit organizations can hold events
The Food Co-Op will expand to an 8,000 to 10,000 square-foot organic grocery store with produce, meat, dairy, deli, wellness, coffee, wine and beer departments. Approximately 80% of its products will be locally sourced or purchased.
The Cooperative Community Market will also include an Education Center offering classes in health, nutrition, and cooking, along with something quite unique. It plans to offer free job training for people seeking a career in the food and restaurant business. Individuals can gain the knowledge, skills, and experience to seek jobs elsewhere or right there in the organic grocery store.
A commercial kitchen will even be available to small food producers who want to prepare their goods for sale in the organic grocery store. In addition, the Education Center will provide valuable and much needed free services to low-income folks, such as healthy meals for low-income seniors and those experiencing homelessness.
Finally, the Education Center will serve as a venue for local artists, photographers, poets, and the like to show off their craft. Not to mention yoga and meditation practitioners, and dancers who need a place to perform. Plus, non-profit organizations can use the center for an affordable fee to host events.
Outdoors, there will be plenty of room for a Saturday Farmer’s market where local food producers and craftspeople can sell their goods.
In addition, there will be a Children’s Peace Garden to help sow the seeds of peace in the hearts and minds of children. There will even be an outdoor charging station for anyone with an electric vehicle!
The amazing history of the Fort Collins Trolley will stay alive because the trolley will be right there, inside the Cooperative Community Market. Residents can experience the trolley and its history without ever leaving the store!
Once the Cooperative Community Market is established, we have some big dreams. The Cooperative Community Market would like to add freezer storage and a dehydrating center for farmers. That way, when customers purchase produce, it’s as fresh as when it was harvested.
Also in the works are a bike rental and repair shop, a children’s center, and hopefully, Co-Op’s own brand of local food!
Tsewang “Sherpa” Sherpalama, General Manager of the Food Co-Op, is truly the guiding light behind this expansion effort. He says his purpose at the Co-Op is to “serve people, serve the earth, and make the Co-Op sustainable.” No wonder Sherpa fond of saying, “It’s not about what the community can do for us, but what we can do for the community.”
With a focus on staff-work harmony rather than productivity and profit, Sherpa strongly believes that the Cooperative Community Market will successfully support local food production, protect the earth, preserve the community, and boost the local economy!
As we mentioned earlier, a Denver-owned brewery is in direct competition for the Trolley Barn location. If you’re wondering which will benefit Fort Collins the most – another brewery or the Cooperative Community Market – the market wins, hands down!
If the Cooperative Community Market moves in, the City will get much needed sales tax revenue and employment … and SO much more:
Provide education opportunities in the areas of health, nutrition, and cooking
Offer on-the job training for people in the food and restaurant business
Encourage community involvement
Assist low-income residents
Support the arts
Promote local food production and craftsmanship
We have an amazing opportunity to make the Cooperative Community Market dream a reality! We just need to convince the City Council that it’s the right thing to do. That’s why we urge you to write or call the Mayor and City Council and tell them why you think the Cooperative Community Market needs to inhabit the Trolley Barn – not another brewery.
If you’re not sure how to do this, check out these links:
Read a sample letter, then modify and send it. Click the banner:
Review some speaking points for a personal conversation. Click the banner:
Get contact information for the Mayor and City Council. Click the banner:
Just remember, when you write or talk, speak from your heart and ask your friends to do the same.You can help ensure that the Food Co-Op’s expansion dream become a reality!