Amherst Food Co-op Listening Project
Amherst Food Coop is part of a broad movement of cooperation, everyday people from all walks of life, class backgrounds, racial and ethnic histories. Food co-ops are one of the most common because food is so essential to surviving and thriving.
Our Food Co-op started out following the path of many successful co-ops, learning from experts in food co-ops. We’re growing our membership, which is now about 465 cooperator households, more than half-way to our goal of 800 by the Spring of 2019, and well on our way to begin the serious business of building a grocery store.
This summer, we have started to look closely at who we are on the Board, and who we are as member-owners of this enterprise. Many of us were food justice advocates before we joined the co-op; and when we started to examine ourselves — our vision of a grocery store that helps to advocate for economic justice and food justice, and that welcomes all the communities of Amherst and includes all communities in its creation — we saw that there are a lot more people in Amherst who are not yet member-owners. And there are a lot of groups of people, communities, that are not yet represented, and not at the table making decisions about how the vision of this store and community space will unfold.
We realized that we could not just keep running down the track of business-as-usual, making our pitch in the way we’ve been doing for 5-6 years. We realized that we need to go out to those communities that are not at the table, and listen.
Why are we listening? We need to hear about people’s experience with food; what they about food; and what they and their families need to make sure they have delicious, healthy food.