Dear Co-op Community Partners,
It is extremely rewarding to serve as the entrusted leaders of Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op. We have the great fortune to both oversee the direction of our cooperative and then experience, first-hand, the positive change our co-op creates in the lives of our owners and community members. Change creates growth – and with growth, leaders are often tasked to make difficult decisions.
After careful analysis and consideration, Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op has decided to suspend operations at Heritage Point Urban Farm for the 2016 season while we explore viable future opportunities for the use of that property.
We are proud of the many accomplishments of our Heritage Point farmers. We very much appreciate the efforts of the City of Roanoke and our many other community partners who have contributed to our farming efforts. We also tip our hats to the local farmers, whom we continue to wholeheartedly support, for the great food they produce and for carving out a niche for themselves in this difficult business, season after season.
As co-op leaders, it has been humbling to reflect back on the exciting potential we envisioned for Heritage Point just three years ago. Over the course of our three farming seasons we have found it very challenging to operate a sustainable farming operation on our property at Heritage Point. Looking forward, the leaders of Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op have the fiduciary responsibility to determine if it is in the co-op’s best interest to own and operate a farm and to closely re-examine the co-op’s overall role and Heritage Point’s place in supporting our local food system.
During the first quarter of 2016, the co-op will host community forums asking for your suggestions in reimagining Heritage Point. We are eager to gather with our stakeholders – the co-op’s owners and the Roanoke community – to collect ideas through conversations that will help write the next chapter of the co-op’s story. With your help, we hope to determine a course of interest and action for the farm’s future by next fall.
We will post information about the upcoming community forums in our two stores, Grandin Road and Downtown, on our website,www.roanokenaturalfoods.coop, on our Facebook and Twitter pages, and in our e-newsletter, The Seed, in the coming months.
Thanks for your time and attention. We look forward to seeing you at the co-op.
Bruce Phlegar Bob Capper
General Manager Board President