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Sanibel Food Co-Op could be fresh, less expensive way to shop healthy

By Staff | Apr 1, 2009

Does the idea of getting healthy, fresh and organic food at reasonable prices without ever driving over the Sanibel Causeway pique your interest?

One local business owner is checking on the possibility of developing a food co-op on Sanibel.

Carol Simontacchi, owner of the Island Nutrition Center on Sanibel, is holding an exploratory meeting at the Sanibel Public Library on Wednesday, April 8 at 7 p.m.

Some bullet items to be discussed during the gathering:

Is Sanibel/Captiva interested in starting a food co-op?

What are the different co-op organizational plans available?

Will a co-op work in a “seasonal” location?

What is the next step?

“It would allow people to buy foods that they need,” Simontacchi said. “It also helps with the food prices.”

If enough interest is generated at the meeting a food co-op could be put in the works, Simontacchi noted.

Food cooperatives are essentially worker/customer owned businesses that allow members to get good deals on fresh, healthy foods.

If a food co-op is started on Sanibel, members would decide how it would be structured. Aside from the administrative fee, members would be required to work five hours a month at the food co-op, Simontacchi said. The work requirement which would include duties such as ordering products and handing out orders helps to keep the costs down.

Food-Coops considered popular up north would be a boon to islanders striving to eat healthy and keep costs down.

“I love the concept,” said local artist Myra Roberts. “I think she (Simontacchi) would find a lot of people would be interested.”

Roberts is a health-conscious islander who loves to eat organic foods.

For more information about the upcoming Sanibel Food Co-Op meeting, call Carol Simontacchi at the Island Nutrition Center at 472-4499.