Hello Co-operator is a series in which we meet members of the Philadelphia co-op community.
What is your experience with cooperatives?
Two years ago, seven other Penn students and I founded Penn’s first housing co-op, Penn Haven. Since then we have grown to eleven members, and next year we will be expanding to a second house.
What skills do people need to be a member of a co-op?
The willingness to listen. At Penn Haven so much depends on open dialogue and communication. Listening to people and understanding where they are coming from is something I’ve gotten a lot better at.
I hear you are interested in starting a food co-op. What would that look like?
Yes! A few of us at Penn are working with CoFed to start a bulk buying club for next school year. Penn Haven already does a lot of bulk buying, so it will hopefully provide the base and students and student-run cafes will also buy through it.
What is your favorite co-op?
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Food Co-op in their office in Immokalee, Florida. The CIW’s coop is my favorite because it’s paired with grassroots, strategic campaigns for tangible changes in the lives of farmworkers!
Read more about Penn Haven at their new website!