I never thought I would see the day that our Silverton based grocery store would no longer be locally owned and I wonder what Orville would have to say about it. I love Roth’s and I always will, but I am nervous for the changes to come. My heart has dropped knowing that the fourth richest person in Canada now owns it.
To me, living in a rural community is all about resilience. I want my community to meet my needs and I want to meet my community’s needs. We live in a place that is rich with assets. From business owners, farmers, to actively engaged citizens and people who understand the health and economic benefit of fresh local food. These are the people I want to grow my food, run my grocery store, and where I want to spend my money.
Shopping at Roth’s made me feel more connected to the local community because the money I spent there stayed in the region. Now that the profits generated by Roth’s will be going outside of our state and country, I feel like I have lost some of that connection. I understand that no immediate staffing changes will happen and the Jim Pattison group values philanthropy, but knowing that my hard earned money is going to be leaving my neighbors to further increase the worth of the one percent makes me sad.
Are we going to keep supporting a company that is owned by somebody with a networth of 10.4 billion dollars? I hope so, because our neighbors still work there! I want Roth’s to stay in business AND I want more options!
Now, more than ever does our rural region need a cooperatively owned grocery store. A store that is owned by the community. A community that may not have billion dollars but that is rich in things that are priceless - people, social networks, neighbors and our hard working farmers who we know by name. These are the people I trust and these are the people I want to support when I shop for my food.
Rural people are savvy, hard workers, and creative. We have the skills and desire to do what it takes to build a sustainable and resilient economy and food system.
After all, we all need to eat. Why not eat in a way that supports community, resiliency, and local economics?! Our dinner can nourish more than our bodies and the family and friends we enjoy it with. It has the ability to nourish our whole community.
Silverton Food Co-Op President and active community member. Cayla is a Program Manager at Rural Development initiatives which strengthens rural people, places, and economies in the Pacific Northwest. She has lived in rural communities her whole life and enjoys inspiring people to meet community needs together. Cayla has worked on an educational farm and is a homesteader at heart, always trying to make time to preserve the seasonal abundance by pickling, canning, and dehydrating and sharing ideas and recipes.