President of Mullumbimby and Ocean Shores Community Gardens, Greg Dutton, has a few more credentials to establish before his ambitious plan to establish a Mullum community IGA supermarket gets legs.
After the announcement two weeks ago, he has impressed many with his idealism and leadership aspirations. He wants to establish a co-op hybrid model that gives the community a chance to own its own supermarket. Mayor Jan Barham speaks highly, saying that she is ‘impressed’ by what Mr Dutton and partner Sarah-jane have done with the Ocean Shores gardens and with the permaculture youth challenge.
Internet searches yield very little of Mr Dutton’s previous life before the Shire; however, he told The Echo he purposely deleted his online profiles in 2007 after a family separation. He says he was a venture capitalist and a principal stakeholder/investor in Netfire (now Netfira: www.netfira.com.au) from 2001 until 2007. Since then, he says he has been working with 11 Aboriginal communities in NSW.
Perhaps what is most interesting is his capacity for leverage and wedge. Fronting yourself on behalf of the community wedges you against any other private interests and, well, anyone who might disagree.
Quotes by the mayor and others have been leveraged on the project’s website which boosts his personal association cred.
But let’s not forget this is also a business proposition for Mr Dutton and his team. They hope to be re-imbursed for the work they are trying to achieve. Concerns have been expressed to The Echo over the high-acquisition budget, but to be fair, it all appears to be evolving and a cautious approach is understandable.
He has also told The Echo he stands to lose personally a substantial amount if it fails. While he brims with confidence, what the community is now waiting for is the concrete business plan. That is supposed to include a co-operative or public unlisted company structure and then a shareholder agreement. But pledges have come in, with now $600k in virtual dollars by 392 supporters being registered on www.ourmullumbimby.org.
And let’s not forget a well-run community asset is a highly desirable asset. A means of empowering our localised economy suits any progressive community such as ours. We’ll wait until it all checks out