We had a terrific gathering at The Commons this Tuesday. The low light was that I delivered my Napa olive oil cake and berry shortcake which everyone ate with great gusto. The high light was everyone who showed up full of enthusiasm and positive energy about working cooperatives, the joy of working shoulder-to-shoulder with friends and the sense of community it creates. As Don Heimbecker, our General Contractor so wisely opined, “food IS community”.
I only joined the Park Slope Food Coop after a number of years. I was busy with a demanding job and two children. Once I joined, I was a member for twenty years. Of course, the PSFC wasn’t just any cooperative, it was a trail blazer. It had amazing produce, pasture raised meat even twenty years ago, and the feel of community. I loved cashiering. I met mothers my children went to school with, lovely and talented young people from the community, some artists from the lofts in Red Hook, and we shared our stories and our lives as we greeted coop members who were paying for their groceries. Each of us tried to be more efficient than the next, get the most receipts in our cash drawers, and reconcile cash to sales to the penny. I shopped after I completed my shift, enjoying the fresh smell of the coop’s produce and grains, chuckling as I negotiated the coop’s usually long check-out lines, using my time to peruse the nutritional supplements while I chatted with fellow coop members, gathering recipes, learning more about the benefits of organic and the nutritional value of foods with which I was unfamiliar.
How many of you belonged to coops in the past? What were they like? How did you feel about belonging?