Food co-ops, gentrification and community-based innovation

This post, in response to the New York Times’ article about food co-ops may strike as a bit off-topic, but it speaks to a few themes that intersect with the work we do at CEWD. First, food co-ops are an innovative form of increasing food access and creatively structuring entrepreneurship, outcomes supported by the training we provide, and driven by our students’ ambitions. Second, this article discusses the importance of building relationships with, and working with, community partners. Third, the article cites the history of food co-ops as a remedy used by African-American communities (among others) to counter mainstream grocery chain’s discriminatory location and pricing practices. The article reminds us, among its various lessons, there is often no need to reinvent the wheel. Many of the challenges we face today are not so different from challenges faced in times past. On a less soap-boxy note, I love the fact that high school students were sufficiently intrigued by the explanation provided by the Bushwick Food Co-op’s general manager, Amanda Pitt, about how a fair-trade candy bar differed from a Twix or KitKat, that they bought one to share…and contemplate?