Food Not On A Physical Plate

This is republished from the Paso Food Co-op newsletter

Food_Coop_Banner_Pumpkin_1_Happy New Year, and may it be the best one yet for all of us!  The new year has been a bustling time for the Paso Food Co-op.  It is a season of resolutions, many of which pertain to food choices.  From eating more locally and sustainably for the environment to nurturing physical health, we wish you success and hope that the co-op will become that hub to support your goals.  In this new year, we also ask you to consider what one of our member-owners calls “Food Not On A Physical Plate.”  These are the activities that enrich us–gathering with friends and family, building community, creating positive change.  These are the activities that feed our whole self and make life ‘taste’ better.  As a developing organization, we hope you’ll consider joining with us, either by offering your time, expertise, or financial support.  Join Us as a member-owner.  Attend our regular meetings.  Promote us in the community.With the launch of our targeted marketing campaign, we’ve seen a recent surge in new member-owners.  Many thanks to our newest, fully paid member-owners:Ashley Beels, Carolyn Fergoda, and Glen and Katrina Cardin!  Also, thanks go out to Slow Foods SLO for a $500 donation.

Upcoming Event: Producer Potluck

You’re cordially invited to join us 12:30 – 2:30pm on Saturday, March 21st to meet a local producer, BeeWench Farm.  You can reed more about BeeWench Farm below.  The event will be held at Oak Creek Commons in the common house, 635 Nicklaus Dr. in Paso Robles.  Bring a dish to share as well as friends, family members and any questions you might have.  Kids are welcome!

For more information, please contact us at 805-727-3745 or email at

Feature Farmer: BeeWench Farm


One of the major goals of the Paso Food Cooperative is to support local food production.  Once our store is up and running, we’ll aim to stock it with the best locally grown food.  In the meantime, we’re proud to promote direct connections between local growers and consumers.BeeWench Farm is the only Certified Naturally Grown CSA in San Luis Obispo County.  On 10 beautiful acres in Shandon, they grow row crops and raise pastured chicken, dairy goats and hens for eggs. The farm sells its harvest at 3 local farmers markets, on the farm and via the Community Supported Agriculture model.  Their pastured chicken is also featured on the menu at Thomas Hill Organics, a local restaurant specializing in fresh, organically grown food.

5bd7e92c-1b32-4603-8349-01d27b5f639aBeeWench Farm uses no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides on its vegetables.  Chicken is raised on pasture, in moveable pens, on non-GMO feed with no added hormones or antibiotics. The pasture chickens and goats form a harmonious relationship in the lush grass. The goats nibble away at nutritious grasses and the pasture pens follow behind them, spreading their fertilizer and eating bugs. Their egg chickens are free range and spend their days scratching in the soil and eating bugs out of the grass. Bright yellow yolks are the norm for BeeWench Farm eggs!

The farm can be contacted via phone, email or their website.

Let Us Introduce Ourselves

In our last newsletter, we introduced Greg Ellis-Valencia, another in our group of dedicated member-owners who is putting his talents and time where her heart is – to grow the Paso Robles Food Coop into a real local food center!

This month we introduce to you Jim Cole.

134cdcdd-2459-4c4d-9d07-1ebccf777021Meet Jim Meet Jim ColeJim loves co-ops.   From the beginning of the Paso Food Cooperative in 2013, he has been an indispensable member of the Steering Committee, Business Subcommittee, and founding Board of Directors.  From filing the co-ops incorporation paperwork, accounting, budgeting, and myriad other organizational tasks, Jim keeps the co-op on a financially and legally sound footing.Jim has visited and shopped at half a dozen co-ops around the country including those in  Davis CA, San Luis Obispo CA, Burlington VT, Montpelier VT, Boise ID, and Santa Fe NM.  His favorite local co-ops include SLO Natural Foods, Farm Supply Co-op, Ace Hardware, and Organic Valley.  He is a member at REI.

From 1978 thru 1990 Jim lived on the east coast as the Director of Energy Efficiency for the New York State Energy Authority. He moved to the west coast in 1990 to take a job as the Executive Director of the California Institute for Energy and the Environment (CAIEE), where he worked full time until 2002. Throughout all those years Jim saw the evolution of global energy sources, systems, & new technologies, and observed them growing in complexity, capital-intensiveness, and vulnerability – becoming more and more unsustainable.

It was in 2002 when out of a growing sense of urgency that something needed to be done differently, Jim dropped to part-time as Senior Advisor (at CAIEE) and began his journey of gaining knowledge, skills, and connections for helping to combat this dangerous trend.  Since then he has been involved in local organizations: Member of SLO County Transition Town Hub, Board Member and Treasurer of the non-profit Institute for Sustainable Living, and Board Member, Chief Financial Officer, and Resident of the Oak Creek Commons Cohousing Community and community volunteer supporting the SLO County Clean Energy Economy Coalition and several Cal Poly San Luis Obispo University SustainSLO Projects.

In 2013 he launched a county-wide, modular permaculture design course, SLO Permaculture, that is currently in its third year of operation.  His permaculture background includes Teacher Training and Permaculture Design Certification through the Permaculture Institute in 2012 and a second PDC with Santa Barbara City College / Quail Springs Permaculture Collaborative in 2009.

His professional background included serving as Executive Director (1990-2002) and Senior Advisor (2002-2012) with the University of California’s Institute for Energy Efficiency Program Director (1978-1990) with the New York State Energy Authority.

His Education includes a PhD in Applied Mathematics from Columbia University, an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an MSEE from MIT and BSEE from Lehigh University.

Jim believes that a vibrant Paso Robles Food Cooperative could contribute local economic development and longer-term energy security benefits for a healthier happier local community.

03fb0a43-acde-43d2-87de-70ae9197ab93Interested in getting involved with the organizing team?
Join us at our February and March Steering Committee Meetings.  Meetings are held at Oak Creek Commons, 635 Nicklaus Dr. in Paso Robles.  They occur the 1st and 3rd Tuesday (next on Feb. 17th, March 3rd, and March 17th) at 6 – 7pm.