Hello Co-operator is a series in which we meet members of the Philadelphia co-op community.
What is your experience with cooperatives?
I currently serve on the board of the Kensington Community Food Co-op. I’ve been involved with KCFC for almost 4 years.
How would you describe the difference between a food co-op and a conventional grocery store?
A big difference between a co-op and most conventional grocery stores is the sense of community that’s created at a co-op. A lot of co-ops have community spaces where events are held and places where people can hang out and meet up with their neighbors. Of course, the fact that the co-op is owned by its member-owners creates a sense of investment that also contributes to this feeling of community.
How can we spread the cooperative movement?
I post a lot on social media about the work KCFC as well as other co-ops are doing. I often say how proud I am to be part of opening a member-owned grocery store and as a result, people who aren’t familiar with cooperatives often ask me to hear more about our project when I see them in person. I think being enthusiastic about our work and the work and accomplishments of other co-ops is the best way, because excitement generates more excitement and interest.
What’s the most common misconception people have about co-ops?
A lot of people think that a co-op is a CSA or a buying club, rather than a regular grocery store. I’ve heard so many people say “I can’t eat that much food!”
What is the most important thing you’ve learned from being a co-operator?
A group of neighbors can band together and take control of bringing healthy and affordable food to their community, rather than waiting for some corporation to come along and do it. It’s truly an amazing thing.
Which cooperative principle is your favorite?
That’s a tough question. I guess at this moment, I would say Principle 6, Cooperation Among Cooperatives. As a start-up, KCFC has been extremely fortunate to be on the receiving end of so much help and consultation from so many cooperatives: Weavers Way, Mariposa, Swarthmore, Creekside, just to name a few. We couldn’t do our work without them!
Learn more about Kensington Community Food Co-op.