A few people in the PLG community (CSA members and non-members) have been doing some preliminary planning around forming a Food Coop in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens area. CSA board member Karen Oh and member Sara James are actively leading the effort and asking any of you who are interested in joining this effort to email karen@houseofcakes.com to join the PLG Food Coop email list. There is a planning meeting scheduled for August 26, 2009 (location TBA) which we will send out more information in a separate email.

Why a Food Coop?

It’s easy to think that another grocery store might do the trick, but food coops benefit the community in more than just bringing food to the consumer.

Food Coops:

1. Build community through organizing local residents and having a membership structure.

2. Often are mission-based versus economically-based which means that there is a direct contribution to the community in terms of programming (such as nutrition workshops, cooking demos, workshops offered by members, etc.).

3. Hire locally and keep spending dollars and business within communities versus national chains and franchises which may contribute to corporate bottom lines.

4. Often buy local and organic. By purchasing locally, economies are supported throughout the state and surrounding areas, have a lower environmental impact (shorter transportation distances), and food is fresher and riper as it can be picked closer to the sale date. Organic food has a lower environmental impact and is sustainable. Both local and organic buying benefit small, specialtiy, as well as large farmers.

5. Makes food economical and affordable. Perhaps one of the largest impacts of fresh, local and/or organic food access in NYC is to the wallet. Frequently, organic and/or local foods are beyond many people’s price ranges—especially if you have a family to feed. Organic and local have acquired a “boutique” feel and that is simply not right. Organic and local can be affordable and food coops have shown that this can be done if done right. By pooling people, bulk-buying, and sharing work, food coops can lower overhead and provide anyone, regardless of income, with fresh, local and organic food.

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