The Magdalena Food Cooperation board signed articles of incorporation on Oct. 31 and filed their application with the Secretary of State. They are projecting they will be able to open the grocery store between January and July of 2025 with the hope of using the former Salome General Store, now the NDN Mercantile on Highway 60, as their storefront.
The board also recently submitted an application for a grant through the New Mexico Economic Development Department’s Healthy Food Financing Fund for the January 2024 through June 2024 cycle. The grant awards range from $20,000 to $100,000. They expect to be notified in December, if they are awarded funding. The application requested funding for a feasibility analysis, business plan, lease agreement, renovations for the projected site, marketing, risk analysis and budget projects. In the meantime, the directors are writing the bylaws for the food cooperative.
Laurie Ware, board member, said that MFC plans to open a meat department inside the grocery store and has started this discussion with the New Mexico Environment and Health Department about its requirements. This department within the store was inspired by the old Salome Store as well as community input.
“The Magdalena Food Cooperative will be a full-service grocery store that will have organic and nonorganic produce, dairy, flour, cooking oils, canned goods, frozen food, bulk items, and more. In phase three of the food cooperative opening – sometime within three to seven years, we would like to see the purchase of a food delivery van to deliver food to those who do not have transportation, or can’t afford to come into town.” Ware said.
Ware said that it’s not required to be a member to shop at the co-op and EBT will be accepted.
She spoke about her personal challenges finding fresh healthy food for her family in a food desert and relying on having a garden and raising chickens to help supplement. Having a food co-op in Magdalena would save her family and many others two hour round trips to Socorro for groceries.
“A food cooperative seemed sustainable” said Ware “Educating the community about what cooperatives are, will be one of the MFC’s key goals. We have plans to support the local farmers market, have local growers be vendors to the store, have workshops to educate the public with historical cultural cooking and food partnerships within the communities.”