CGFC’s Food for All program was created in January of 2009 in response to a clear message from our owners that they felt addressing access needed to be front and center in their Co-op’s work; to address the economic barriers that exist between so many people in our community and access to healthy food. A key part of the Food for All program’s design is a 5% discount on all groceries - based on economic need. This has been well-received, but we began to question how we distribute discounts at CGFC shortly after Food For All started when one owner receiving the senior discount stood up at a CGFC annual meeting and said, “shouldn’t all of our discounts be based on need, not age or student status?” The question received a strong round of applause from his fellow owners.
Since that time, we’ve reached out to all CGFC owners for their thoughts on this issue. Our fall 2013 Owner Survey showed that 82% of CGFC owners were pro putting all CGFC’s discount resources into one fiscal-need-based discount program and growing that discount to 10%.
We celebrated the five year anniversary of the Food For All program by engaging owners for the first six months of 2014 through roundtables and online surveys on the topic of the future of our Food For All program and what they want it to accomplish. The top response we got back was “make the food even more economically accessible for those with need, grow the Food For All discount to 10%.” Through these two processes, the owner survey and the Food For All input process, it became clear that CGFC’s owners were in agreement.
I’m writing you today to let you know about an important change coming to Common Ground Food Co-op’s (CGFC) discount programs. As of February 1st, 2015, Common Ground will be discontinuing the 5% senior discount based on age and growing our Food For All needs-based discount from 5% to 10%. This isn’t a decision we’ve taken lightly and it’s one I believe we can all be very proud of as CGFC owners.
This is a bold move for CGFC. 10% off of groceries could be life-changing for many in our community who felt that healthy, sustainable food was out of their reach. To afford this change that is so deeply aligned with our Ends, the vision that drives everything CGFC does, we need to focus all of our available discount dollars on this one program that creates access for those with the deepest need, no matter what their age.
We appreciate and honor our senior owners. We know change can be challenging - especially so for those who have been using the senior discount but find they do not qualify for the Food For All fiscal-need-based discount. During this transitional time, those seniors who wish to may apply for a one-year extension. This will be a one-time opportunity to continue the senior discount without meeting the Food For All program’s criteria.
So many of our senior owners have supported CGFC, not just for years but for decades, and have been a huge part of our growth and success. It is the continued support of all of CGFC’s owners that allows CGFC to make bold initiatives like the new Food For All 10% discount a reality, creating positive change in our community every day. We’re proud to be growing access to healthy food at CGFC!