About

Welcome to the El Morro Valley Cooperative

The El Morro Valley Cooperative seeks to provide the final links necessary to establishing a viable local food system that connects local food growers, micro-business entrepreneurs, local restaurants and small stores, consumers, and other local organizations. This effort will also connect our local “food hub” in a developing regional web of community kitchens, farmers, and distribution routes being established in the state of New Mexico, literally feeding our local economy while we feed out families. We will become the missing piece that ties together the food-growing initiatives that are established in El Morro Valley, while empowering local entrepreneurs to grow their own food-based businesses at the same time.

Our vision includes three essential parts that work together:

1)  a small community-owned grocery store featuring locally-sourced products, bulk items, lots of fresh produce, and a local bakery, supplied by…
2)  a community kitchen, which directly supports local entrepreneurs as they develop value-added products, and also allows El Morro Valley Cooperative to develop our own product line, distributed by…
3)  a distribution service that assists local food-based micro-businesses and area retailers, while offsetting the cost of supplementing our store’s inventory from nearby urban areas. We also plan to offer distribution services to other local stores who struggle with supply issues, which will help fill up our truck “both ways” to town, while supporting the needs of other local businesses- a cooperative solution to a widespread problem in our rural community.

The community kitchen is the heart of our business- since it is directly linked to the development of local value-added products that can be sold and distributed by our Cooperative. Currently there are local products that are already being, or have been, manufactured on a small scale that we will support, such as a local line of bath and body products, baked goods such as bread and cookies, specialty items such as candies and chocolates, homemade laundry soap, and even locally grown oyster mushrooms. There are also other local entrepreneurs waiting in the wings for access to an approved and licensed kitchen who wish to develop their own products, including granola, frozen fruits and vegetables, tomato sauce, noodles, bagels, soups, and tortillas. Many people are excited about grinding their own flours and nut butters with the grinders the Cooperative plans to purchase. Local non-profit organizations such as the Oso Vista Ranch Project, on the Pinehill Navajo Reservation, are working to grow and process locally-grown foods- El Morro Valley Cooperative hopes to provide distributions services for these organizations. The Ramah Farmer’s Market is planting a community garden on the same land as the proposed site of the Cooperative- a close relationship is developing between the two local farmer’s markets and the El Morro Valley Cooperative, with local food producers seeing the potential benefits of having access to a community kitchen that would turn excess produce into value-added products that they could sell to support their small farms. In addition to providing access to the commercial kitchen, the Coop will also bring affordable universal access codes to producers and provide a venue for such things as food handling training.

A store front is an added value to the cycle of sustaining the needs of a community, not only adding jobs and revenue, but adding a shopping option for the community to purchase locally made products for their daily cooking needs. Ultimately, we hope that everything that is sold in the storefront is made from scratch and produced in house, from soups & baked goods to butters, flours & nut meals and other value-added products. In doing so the local community not only thrives but also sustains each other. Farmers are supported; food producers become entrepreneurs that supply the community with healthier options. Our distribution service will help bring money in from outside of our community while providing locally-made products to our region. Through this model, the community knows exactly what goes into the produce and products they are buying. They also get the opportunity to build relationships with the farmers that grow their produce, and with the producers that turn the produce and grains into value-added products. Thus we will strengthen the bonds of community around a common everyday need to sustain one’s self; supporting each other as the greater community aids in the support of the local economy, by creating healthier options to feed our families

With the support of the community through membership, participation in the equity campaign, and volunteering, we can make this happen. We are already well on our way with a our ties to a growing and vital network, including the La Cocina Project and Arrowhead Institute, the development of our business plan, policies and best practices and fundraising efforts. It won’t take much more to our doors at the Old Ramah Post office. To become a member or for further information, please contact us.

New to community kitchens?  Check out the links below.