Welcome to the blog of the Fort Greene Food Co-op

This is where we’ll be posting information, ideas and appeals in support of creating a food co-op for Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Wallabout.

If You’d Like To Get Involved:
We’re still in early in the planning stages. To join our email list, please either fill in your info on this form or send an email to clintongreenefoodcoop@gmail.com and let us know where your interest lies. You can also help out by adding your name to a petition in support of the co-op here.

For more:
A Food Co-op Of Their Own? [Brooklyn Paper]
Food Co-op Planned For Ft. Greene/Clinton Hill? [Brownstoner]

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17 responses to “Welcome to the blog of the Fort Greene Food Co-op

  1. Coop idea: what able putting in a demonstration kitchen and inviting chefs to come show us how to cook?

  2. I like the idea, but the Co-op on Union Street doesn’t seem as much fun as it could be and haven’t heard positive feedback… I guess this would be another try at getting it right!

  3. Hey, I’m interested in helping in anyway I can. I have experience designing websites and graphics.

  4. I am on board. Please keep me updated with the happenings.

  5. I’d love to see a food coop in FG/CH. I’ve been a member of the Park Slope Co-op for about 20 years and while I have mixed feelings about it, it is very well-run, and they are eager to help other people start coops in other neighbourhoods (the PSFC is very involved in the East NY Coop, for example).

    I’m also on the organizing committee of the Clinton Hill CSA, which is only once a week, 23 weeks a year, and it’s a LOT of work. This is not to be discouraging, but just thinking about the level of commitment required to start, staff, and maintain a coop on a day-to-day level.

    I’d be interested to know what kind of coop people are imagining. Something like a buyers’ club that enters into partnerships with direct providers? An actual storefront? Something else?

  6. I have food buying experience at a start up. Would love to help.

  7. Great idea. When Ratner’s arena closes 5th Avenue it will be even harder to get from vinegar hill to park slope coop.

  8. Kathryn Zarczynski

    We are looking for a person interested in this coop to make a 5 minute appeal at the 1/17 Clinton Hill Society Meeting. Only need to pass on info about this blog site etc. Leave us acomment if you are up to it. We’d love to have someone who knows the Park Slope or other coop do it.

  9. My wife and I are looking forward to joining!

  10. I bike to the Park Slope Coop a few times a week. It’d be nice to have something closer. I think there are plenty in the area who would support it.

  11. I would sincerely hope that any coop in Fort Green would be inclusive of the entire neighborhood by being open to everyone, not just members. Most coops operate that way, and if you need a local model or help, try the Ditmas Park coop. I would oppose any coop in my neighborhood that wasn’t interested in serving ALL residents, not just the people with the means and time to become members.

  12. pls., pls. make this a co-op that’s open to the general public too! this would be a way to entice membership and support.

  13. I’ve heard much dissatisfaction about membership at the Park Slope Co-op, particularly with regard to the monthly work requirement.

    I agree it would be great for the Fort Greene Co-op to be open to the general public! This would be a wonderful opportunity to show the community what it’s about and share resources.

    Also -I’d be in favor of having working and non-working categories of membership – so that people who would like to be members but are unable to commit to regular shifts of work, could still join and benefit from a level of discount. Flexibility, I think, would be welcomed by the community

  14. If you sell to non-members, then the majority of your sales will be to non-members. At that point, what benefit will this store provide? What about it will be cooperative? You won’t be able to offer low prices if you have to pay salaries for most of your labor. Nor will you likely ultimately get high numbers of people closely involved and committed to the organization.

    As far as having the means to contribute time to a cooperative you co-own: Since the PSFC is able to offer such low prices, it tends to be financially very worthwhile to commit a couple of hours a month in return for, at a minimum, inexpensive food. Hence, the large percentage of our membership who depend on government assistance (food stamps, etc.).

    Part of the PSFC’s mission is to provide good food at low prices. If you don’t get everyone involved and working together, you’re not going to be able to accomplish such a goal.

    A great way to entice membership and support is to actually be something involving, interesting and unique. If you just look like a store that has “co-op” in its name, where someone else runs the place, and where prices aren’t competitive…what will be the thing that keeps someone from simply going somewhere else?

    And if “membership” just means paying an annual fee, where’s the connection and commitment? Why have the concept of membership at all, unless it will really mean something? Why form as a cooperative without planning on having everyone cooperate? Why not just call it a local food store at that point?

    Just thoughts for consideration…

    Note also that the PSFC is working with a few new and forming coops right now, and is also contributing our member labor to the two new local ones (East New York and South Bronx). I know there are/will be a ton of PSFC members who would love to help out.

  15. We need a better way to communicate with people. This blog is way to passive – it requires that people come to this site and read things and the comments are not in any way organized.

    We need a group email, specially for those who are active.

  16. The heart of a coop...

    Thank you for your post “Coop Lover”. I have intimate experience with coops that are open to both members & non-members. It’s a whole different trip. I hear the sentiment of being open “to everyone!!!” but the reality is is that ANYONE can become a member at an all member coop-its not much $ & not much time. The benefits of this type of coop are enormous-the availability of high quality food- at affordable prices?!?!?! Wasn’t this idea at the root of the food coop movement?

    Perhaps there is a way to structure we haven’t thought of yet. I know there’s been some trouble with the “working member programs” in coops who are open to the public. Some coops have chosen to discontinue the working member programs because of this (not sure what the issues are). VERY sad. The working members always made the coop truly a community effort!! The pride in ownership was always such a beautiful thing. Our pricing structure worked like this: working member 4 hrs a month, 19%off non sale items, 2 hrs mo 10% off non sale items, non-working members 2% off non-sale items, non-members sticker price. I wonder if going the other direction, adding a % to sticker price or having 2 prices on stickers would encourage people to become members. This could be a way for people to allow people more flexibility in their working hours; if one month some one cant work, a percentage would be added on to the working member price, there could even be a way to have tiers of work instead of all the same. It sounds like there is a lot of frustration around people “having to work” or else they can’t shop (is that the policy at PSFC?).

    I wonder if we could do a viability study for how many working members a coop needs to have in order to keep prices low. Non members or lesser working members would pay that marked up price which would help pay for any hired help needed & also be an incentive to become a working member.

    One last item. I do feel really strongly about making high quality, nutritious food, available to all people – NOT JUST THE ‘RICH’, EDUCATED FOLK – and reaching out, educating people, creating an inviting & exciting environment. I think we may just have an opportunity of a lifetime on our hands here….our area is on the brink of loosing its rich cultural diversity, perhaps we can help keep it a magical community!!!

    Just tossing around some ideas. Hope it’s useful in the conversation.