December 2011:

Held the first visioning session for thinking partners to discuss a Cooperative Coffeehouse (modeled after Busboys and Poets in Washington DC).

January 2012:

Developed the Concept Paper for Fertile Ground and applied for the Echoing Green fellowship. The idea evolved to incorporate healthy eating and ‘triple bottom line’ concepts.

February 2012:

Refined the Concept Paper and developed a steering committee.

May 2012:

Developed a plan to hold a series of listening sessions with community members about the concept.

July 2012:

Held the first Listening Session

August 2012:

Held the second Listening Session.

October 2012:

Sent a contingent of interested stakeholders to attend the Cooperative Economies Conference at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives Training Center in Epes, Alabama.

January 2013:

Two Kroger Superparkets close in Southeast Raleigh further exacerbating food desert status for the area and prompting the evolution of the concept from coffee house to food cooperative.

February 2013:

Carolina Common Enterprise (CCE), a NC cooperative development center, begins consulting with the group.

March 2013:

Core Leadership Team is solidified.

May 2013:

Core Leadership Team organized presentations of the Fertile Ground at CAC meetings.

June 2013:

Core Leadership Team organizes a successful Community Meeting with over 40 attendees at Christian Faith Baptist Church (Community Meeting #1).

July 2013:

Core Leadership Team incorporated Fertile Ground Food Cooperative and applied for the Voices in Action Mini-Grant for $2,000.

August 2013:

FGFC holds its second Community Meeting “Good and (Healthy) Food”, co-sponsored by Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (Community Meeting #2 attended by over 70 people). Core Leadership Team develops Working Committees (Finance, Bylaws, Grants, Marketing, Feasibility Study, and Research). FGFC featured in an article by the Indy Weekly.

September 2013:

FGFC holds a second “Good and (Healthy) Food Event” at the Hoke Street Garden, co-sponsored by Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (Community Meeting #3)..

October 2013:

Each member of the Core Leadership Team contributes membership fees as seed money. Bylaws, Feasibility Study, and Research Committees make recommendations to the Core 2 Leadership Team at half-day retreat. Decision is made to hold monthly community meetings and monthly team meetings.

November 2013:

Community Meeting #4 held at Worthdale Community Center to watch “Food Inc.” documentary on where our food comes from. Inter-Faith Food Shuttle co-sponsors the event. Core Leadership Team members are interviewed by Beehive Collective representatives. 40 Community Members attend the event.

December 2013:

FGFC holds Community Meeting #5 at Christian Faith Baptist Church to watch segments of “Shift Change,” a documentary about worker-owned cooperatives. Approximately 20 people attend the event.

January 2014:

Core Leadership Team members meet to plan for 2014 action steps, including Communications and Outreach planning, input for feasibility study, and match funding from Fund for Democratic Communities. FGFC featured in an article in the Indy Weekly.

February 2014:

FGFC holds Community Meeting #6 at Biltmore Hills Community Center to launch Founding Member campaign to raise funds for feasibility study. Three new members join the Core Leadership Team and other community members volunteer to work on committees. We review a short video on FGFC to use for presentations, grant, and crowdsourcing funding. We reserve a domain name to begin work on a web site.

March 2014:

FGFC holds Community Meeting #7 at The Wetlands Center to continue committee work on marketing, outreach, and grant prospects. Approximately 30 people attend this event. A Request for Proposals for a Market and Feasibility Study was prepared and distributed. Three community members take a field trip to Company Shops in Burlington. Work is begun on the FGFC web site.

April 2014:

FGFC holds Community Meeting #8 at Chavis Park Community Center. Core Leadership Team members inform community members about a number of potential sites for the store. Work is begun on the FGFC brochure.

May 2014:

The team contacted Russ Associates to prepare a Market Study on up to 3 sites in SE Raleigh for the grocery store. Monthly community meetings were instituted, held on the first Thursday of each month.

June 2014:

The decision was made to launch the Membership Campaign in July 2014. The Fertile Ground web site was launched. Art Pope purchased one of the sites assessed in the Market Study.

July 2014:

FGFC launched its Membership Campaign with over 25 new members signing up the first night. Fund for Democratic Communities provided $2,500 in match funding to pay for the Market Study. Bylaws were adopted. FGFC featured in Triangle Business Journal. FGFC featured in the Indy Weekly.

August 2014:

Members were assigned to work on committees designated in bylaws. FGFC featured in the Indy Weekly.

September 2014:

FGFC began working on a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the project management proposal. FGFC featured in article by Institute for Southern Studies

October 2014:

Board of Directors was elected by the general membership. $5,000 gift to support the roject management proposal was received by the Insight Fund at Triangle Community Foundation. Erin Byrd joined the board of the New Bern Avenue Corridor Alliance, a potential strategic partnership. Zulayka Santiago traveled to Epes, AL for COOP ECON 2014.

December 2014:

Crowd funding campaign launched through Indiegogo. Raised $3,077 from 50 funders. Received $15,000 in matching grant from Fund for Democratic Communities, and $5,000 was allocated for FGFC Project Management from a grant received by Carolina Common Enterprise from Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Zulayka Santiago officially hired as Project Manager (as a consultant with CCE).

February 2015:

Key volunteer Liz Crews joins FGFC as the part-time community liaison. Zulayka and Thomas Beckett (CCE) attend the Up and Coming/Up and Running Food Cooperative Conference in Bloomington, IN. Erin Dale Byrd honored as Citizen of the Year by the Indy Weekly.

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