As you may have seen online or around town, we are releasing a series of posters to share with people some of the great points about the Bethlehem Food Co-Op! Each week, we’ll release a different poster on our Facebook page, and you’ll find blog posts here on our website to go along with the theme! The blog posts aren’t necessarily the views of the whole food co-op—Instead, they are reflections by the awesome individuals that make up the co-op, and they’ll give you a taste of what our members are looking forward to about the co-op.
This post is written by Jaime K. of Save the Kales! vegan lifestyle blog and cooking show and steering committee member.
The community building aspect of the co-op is truly one of my favorite and most excitable elements. Being able to show (not just tell) people about the benefits of healthy food, home cooking, budget-friendly recipes, local and organic goods not only builds self-sufficiency, it helps create a true sense of community as neighbors become friends.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that the co-op would also serve me, and my diet, in a very personal way.
As a vegan (who abstains from consuming animal products and byproducts), I currently can’t run out to a mini-mart and stock up on essentials when I need them. In fact, it can be tricky to find my own personal “essentials” in the same store, and it’s not unusual for me to make 3-5 grocery trips a week to as many stores. That’s a lot of driving and shopping for a small home of two.
The convenience of finding, in my own neighborhood (walking distance, perhaps?) ingredients like almond milk, nutritional yeast, bread made without eggs, and fresh affordable vegetables is both simple yet profound. If I could also say hello to friends, grab lunch, and sign up for a gardening class while picking up a new cookbook and supporting local businesses in the same trip, I think it would come close to my own personal grocery utopia.
Food is personal. When our Co-op is happy to provide options for people of all diets — from allergies to personal ethics to simply loving that particular snack — we create an *inclusive* environment, the brick-and-mortar equivalent of welcoming everyone with open arms. Co-operating means enthusiastically co-existing.
I look forward to meeting you at the cabbages and swapping breakfast recipes.