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Date Listed 29-Jan-17
Address Waterloo, ON N2J2K1
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Imagine if the headline for this kijiji advertisement was describing a real-life scenario. Did you click on this ad because you became excited by the idea? I am sure that you are not alone! Every time I imagine what a 100% vegan grocery store could look like, I get excited too!

Imagine a business that is so much more than just a place to go shopping. It could be a place that completes the research and education needed, so that customers could make informed choices as they select more truly health-promoting foods (i.e. whole foods – grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts) and less of the bad stuff.

But, most importantly, these customers could shop with confidence, knowing that the ownership and staff have created an entire business facility which is 100% free of animal products!

Please read on, if you would like to know more.

The purpose of the following proposal is to seek co-owners, managers and workers for a proposed worker-owned cooperative grocery store which would offer exclusively vegan products and promote a whole-food, plant-based diet, as well as other lifestyle products which are health-promoting and less harmful to the environment. This ad is being posted for Waterloo area, since there seems to be an opportunity for this type of business locally right now, but if you are reading this proposal in another part of Ontario and feel that another city/town may provide another possibility, then you are more than welcome to share your alternative ideas! Just drop me a message.

Perhaps after reading this proposal you will decide that you have friends or business associates that you think would be highly interested? Share the link!

Or maybe you know about others meeting places out there in cyberspace that would be a good spot for promoting this proposed vegan business venture? Feel welcome to cut and paste, or let me know where else to post!

With the recent closure of a prominent health food store in Waterloo region, I became motivated to post this ad to see what interest and support there might be for a large-scale vegan business venture. If you are passionate about plant-based food, I am sure that you have noticed that (so-called) “health food” stores actively endorse the products that are stocked on their shelves as being healthier than the food sold in big-box shopping centres - items described as “natural food”, “clean food”, “organic”, “non-gmo”, “grass-fed”, “free-run”, etc. - when these same food items may not really promote human health (according to nutritional science). And in the case of food items specifically derived from animals (meat, milk and eggs), these products have been shown to be exactly the opposite of health-promoting (beside the fact that they also excessively degrade the ecological health of our planet and violate the ethical treatment of nonhuman animals).

What if a health food store exclusively promoted whole-foods plant-based diets, which have been scientifically proven to help prevent or even reverse many of the most prevalent diet-related illnesses of our generation? The business could provide new customers with the inspiration and education they need to make the switch to 100% plant-based eating and, at the same, offer a much more rewarding shopping experience for those who long ago made the choice to become vegan. If you have done any research on-line lately, with regard to the growing movement towards plant-based diets, then I think you will agree that now is the time for a business venture like the one that I am describing in this proposal.

If you are still intrigued, read on, and perhaps you will decide that you need to somehow become involved in the exciting development of this project!

The proposed goals and mission of this vegan food-store project are as follows (to be amended by the future management team):

- offer a wide range of plant-based grocery products which are truly health-promoting, free from all elements that are animal-derived (with priority given to ‘organic’ and ‘local’ products if possible), and also inform the customer (through various educational programming) which vegan products should be consumed often, and which ones should be consumed in moderation or infrequently

– offer a wide range of products and services that (relatively speaking) reduce the overall environmental impact of food shopping and consumption, as well as attempting to reduce or eliminate any (direct or indirect) detrimental impact on nonhuman species of animals

- provide a safe, secure, and highly rewarding job experience for vegans who care about human health, animal welfare, ecological responsibility, since they would be employed in a workplace environment which daily manifests a meaningful alignment with their own personal values and lifestyle convictions

- help educate the business clientele about healthy food, as well as other related lifestyle choices, providing health-promoting literature and other media, and facilitating access to professional plant-based dietary consultants, or plant-based health-care providers

- host several fundraising events, sales and promotions, on a regular basis, in order to gift donations to other Ontario institutions working on issues related to plant-based diets, animal welfare, food-related social justice issues, or ecologically-responsible food production

- provide a highly inspiring hub for vegan community development, wherein multi-faceted programming will not only increase the level of success for the professional relationships that are directly involved, but also strengthen the broadening social movement towards plant-based lifestyles

The co-operative vegan business would likely be comprised of the following core departments, with an incentive program in each section of the store to encourage better, healthier food choices.

- shelf-stable grocery food products
- refrigerated and frozen foods
- fresh produce (fruits and veggies)
- bulk foods (grains, flours, nuts, seeds, dried fruit)
- special dietary products (i.e. gluten-free)
- cruelty-free household cleaning products
- vegan health and beauty products

Other possibilities could include:
- prepared food items and bakery (commercial kitchen)
- café/restaurant/smoothie & juice bar
- vegan pet food
- vegan gifts/swag, and kitchen gadgets geared towards plant-based diets
- educational programs, i.e. cooking classes or workshops/speaker events
The business could also provide in-house office space for a number of plant-based health care professionals (i.e. doctor, dietitian, lifestyle coach?) at low cost, or even for free.

The business management and other team members will ultimately decide how the organization’s founding principles will be formulated.

Pertaining to the role of plant-based nutrition in human health, I think that it would be great to largely base our founding business philosophy on Dr. Michael Greger’s latest book, ‘How Not To Die: Discover The Foods Scientifically Proven To Prevent And Reverse Disease ’, in conjunction with his popular online project, NutritionFacts. But we should also include many other voices/authors as we develop our core guidelines, such as:
• Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
• Dr. Dean Ornish
• Dr. Joel Fuhrman
• Dr. John McDougall
• Dr. Michael Klaper
• Dr. Neal Barnard
• Dr. T. Colin Campbell
• Brenda Davis R.D.
• Rosane Oliveira, DVM, PhD
• Steven Blake, ScD
Pertaining to the ethics question – the exploitation, suffering and killing of nonhuman animals:
• Melanie Joy, Ph.D., Ed.M
Addressing not only the animal ethics issue, but also the fact that the systems of animal agriculture stand in stark contrast to true environmental sustainability and responsible global citizenship:
• Dr. Richard Oppenlander

Do you know any others that should be included on this list? Let me know!

If you are not familiar with some of these authors/speakers, please do some research on them to determine if their philosophies align compatibly with your own, and also consider what a cooperative food business might look like if it was based on the core values being expressed by these experts.

After we have assembled a quorum of management-level founders, and an encouraging number of other interested individuals with niche skillsets, we will then research the ownership model that seems most appropriate for the financial resources that are available to us. However, it does seem most likely that a ‘worker-owned cooperative’ may become our final business ownership structure - unless a founder(s) becomes involved who happens to have sizable financial resources.

I am a middle-aged man, vegan for over six years now, vegetarian for five years before that. I grew up in a home which was centred on a family-owned independent grocery store, and I have worked in food retail for most of my adult life. I have over thirty years of experience in the business. Currently, I am a manager in a small natural food store, but I am presently in a position to make a major shift in my career. I seek an exciting and rewarding workplace: a situation in which I am part of a management team that fosters meaningful relationships, based on shared vegan values, but also helps promote the deepening movement towards compassionate and healthy plant-based lifestyles. I have the big ideas worked out, and I have a solid understanding about many of the intricate details regarding grocery retail, but I do not have the financial resources to make this dream become a reality all by myself. This is where you come in!

First of all, within the initial weeks of determining whether or not this project has enough support to proceed, we will need to fill a quorum of management level positions. If a quorum is reached, then we will need to move to the next step of securing many other team-players to fill niche roles within the business.

No matter how you see yourself possibly fitting in at some point in the future, I strongly encourage you to reply sooner rather than later. You need to think about just three questions before contacting me:

1) Do you possess a demonstrated passion for plant-based food/animal welfare/ vegan lifestyles, and would you like to apply this passion in your workplace?

2) Are you in a position in your life wherein you have the ability/flexibility to explore this vegan business proposal by attending meetings, helping with research, giving your time and energy as a collaborative team-member.

3) Do you have experience, or a specific skillset, that is appropriate for filling any of the core positions in grocery, produce, bulk, and health sections.

We will also very likely need many other roles assigned, and some not even dreamed up yet, in order to make this vegan grocery store and cooperative education centre a long-term success, for example:
- (possibly) Bakery Manager and bakers
- (possibly) Restaurant Manager, cooks, servers, kitchen staff, prepared foods specialists
- (possibly) Vegan Farmer’s Market Co-ordinator
- (possibly) Plant-based health-care practitioners or vegan lifestyle coaches who are willing to set up shop in our facility, or otherwise become affiliated with our business venture

Other ways to get involved could be as follows:
- perhaps you are a land-owner, property developer or building owner, who knows about opportunities that we should explore, and you are sympathetic to our goals and mission?
- perhaps you currently already own a business which is plant-based or vegan in nature, or you are already on a path of transition in that direction, and you feel that you could somehow link up with our efforts synergistically?
- perhaps you are a very wealthy vegan who would love to see this business venture come to life and, instead of becoming involved as a member of management or staff, you are willing to get involved by providing low-interest loans or other financial support?
- perhaps you are someone living in another area of the province, and you feel that this project would stand a much better chance for support and success in another city/town? If so, contact me! (we will not commit to any city or location for the business, before we understand what level of support we have locally, and who knows, maybe our idea will be a huge success and at some point in the future we will branch out to other cities/towns)?
- perhaps you are someone who simply cannot get involved in this project, for whatever reasons, but you have some constructive criticism, positive ideas or advice for our group?

Contact me! Let me know what you can bring to the party.

Does this proposal, for the development of a 100% plant-based cooperative supermarket and vegan community hub/educational facility, inspire you?

Are you eager to join up with like-minded people to explore the exciting possibility of bringing this vegan concept to life in 2017?

Yes, there would be many challenges and obstacles, but no amazing cutting-edge accomplishment has ever happened without the investment of hard work, time and energy!

Consider ALL of the future rewards that this business could bring - community-building, healthier lifestyles, meaningful employment, passionate shopping experiences, value-based relationships, fund-raising, educational programs, expanded compassion for all life, and a significant contribution to a more just and sustainable world.
Let’s get a group together to see if we can it done!

Send me a detailed message, and if a quorum of people is soon assembled, we will set up a forum and plan a future meeting. Thank you!
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