It may not be a well-known fact but Katoomba’s original bulk wholefoods and organic grocery store, Blue Mountains Food Co-op, donates 10% of its annual surplus to local social justice, environmental and food-related organisations every year.
The quiet achiever, established in 1981 as a not-for-profit member owned and managed co-operative, is now over 2,500 members strong, and provides regular support to community groups via food vouchers, cash donations and philanthropic programs.
Recent beneficiaries include Earth Recovery Food Rescue, Aboriginal Culture and Resource Centre, Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group (BMRSG), Women’s Health and Resource Centre, local public schools, neighbourhood centres, land care groups and community gardens.
George Winston, Fundraising Coordinator at BMRSG, says donations received from the Co-op help his group provide asylum seeker families with food, school supplies, medical and rent assistance. “We are hugely grateful to the Co-op for the cash injections which enable us to continue our vital work,” said Mr Winston.
Other projects supported by the Co-op include Toolo’s Repair Cafe, the hugely successful Edible Garden Trail, and a pilot outreach program, Nourishing Families, developed to inspire healthy eating habits. “Nourishing Families, now in its second year at North Katoomba Community Hub, has been a great success and we have plans to roll it out for other community groups,” said Jacqueline Forster, Co-op Marketing and Community Education Officer. “It has always been the Co-op’s remit to give back to community and this year we are pleased to announce a new Small Grants program.”
Co-op Manager, Halin Nieuwenhuyse, said the Board was delighted to be able to offer up to $10,000 worth of community grants in 2019. “Thanks to the support and patronage of our loyal members and shoppers the Co-op experienced unprecedented sales last financial year,” Ms Nieuwenhuyse explained. “This has enabled us to offer grants for specific community projects in need of financial assistance to set up, maintain or progress initiatives.”
Applications for the Co-op grants open Monday 1st April and close Thursday May 30, and will be judged by the Co-op’s Donations Committee. Beneficiaries will be announced in late June 2019. For further information, to check eligibility and download an application form, click here.
To encourage the wider community to visit the Co-op all shoppers will receive the usual member discount during April. That’s 10% off non-member prices across both stores, including bulk wholefoods, fresh fruit and veg, fridge goods, eco-friendly cleaning items and personal care products.
“We want to encourage everyone to take advantage of this offer,” said Ms Nieuwenhuyse. “Come into the Co-op and have a good look around, you might be surprised at what you find.”
Blue Mountains Food co-op is located in Ha’penny Lane Katoomba, between Katoomba Street and the Post Office.