The long-awaited Greene Hill Food Co-op opened its doors just before the holidays, on Dec. 17th.
The not-for-profit Co-op, located at 18 Putnam Avenue, was founded to provide a source for fresh, local, organic and sustainable food at discount prices to residents of Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Bed-Stuy and Prospect Heights – an area which, until now, has been pratically starved of good food at affordable prices. When the project first began, the Co-op put together a video of local residents recounting the challenges of eating well – the firsthand accounts of having to travel long distances, shop at many locations, or just settle for crappy food are compelling:
Greene Hill is a 100% working co-op (similar to the Park Slop Food Co-op), which means all members contribute two hours of work every four weeks. In exchange, they get access to higher quality food at lower prices.
The co-op’s mission statement lays it out:
- We value the spirit of cooperation and a democratic process in which each individual has a voice, and each member works to support the Co-op.
- We strive to offer a range of local, affordable, organic, and sustainable food.
- As neighbors, we strive to reflect the community in which we live and we actively work to ensure that the Co-op is accessible to all.
- We seek to develop the Co-op as an ethical entity, using transparent and socially responsible buying and selling practices.
Every adult in a given household must be a member, in order to make sure the amount of work going into the co-op stays equal to the amount of food going out. Becoming a member costs $175 per adult ($25 non-refundable admin fee, and a $150 reimbursable investment in the co-op), and members agree to work two hours every four weeks and attend an orientation meeting before their first shift. In order to keep the co-op accessible to everyone in the surrounding community, payment plans and different membership levels are available.
Since the co-op is just getting started, shopping hours are limited to Saturdays from 10am-2pm and Wednesdays from 6pm-10pm. But they promise, “We will expand store hours as our membership increases to support the workload.” So the more people join, the more convenient it gets.
Sounds like a great chance to get in on the ground level of what will hopefully become a neighborhood institution. The Park Slope Food Co-op has been around for nearly 40 years and anyone who’s navigated the happy nightmare of a Sunday shop at PSFC knows firsthand the potential for this sort of thing to grow. Sure enough, just three weeks after opening, the Greene Hill Co-Op is closing in on 700 members.
For more information, check out the Greene Hill Food Co-Op’s website.