United Church of Rogers Park - Rogers Park Food Co-op community meeting
1545 W. MORSE AVENUE CHICAGO, IL. 60626
Rogers Park Food Co-op will host a meeting December 4th to update the community on the progress of the co-op launch and grow support.
Sharon Hoyer, General Manager of the Dill Pickle Co-op in Logan Square and Tom Rosenfeld, owner of Earth First Farms and Heartland Café in Rogers Park will share their experience and insights about the benefits of a community-owned grocery store.
Rogers Park Food Co-op community meeting:
Date: Wednesday, December 4th
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Place: United Church of Rogers Park
1545 W. Morse Ave., 3rd Floor (Morse at Ashland)
Chicago, IL 60626
The Rogers Park Food Co-op initially grew out of kitchen table conversations between a mother and daughter, Mary Meyer and Jocelyn Gerard, longtime Rogers Park residents and community organizers. “I am excited about creating a neighborhood food store serving and engaging the community in a beautiful welcoming space,” says Mary Meyer.
In December 2012, initial meetings were held bringing together a group that evolved into a Founders Group. In February 2013, four members of the Founders Group attended the Food Co-op Initiative Start-Up Conference in Bloomington, IN (http://www.foodcoopinitiative.coop/). The conference provided information on how to build a co-op. It turns out there is an established model to follow and a wealth of resources available from other established and start-up co-ops across the country.
With the growing demand for more local produce and expansion of farmers markets across the city, it seems obvious that Chicago is hungry for healthy food choices. A co-op is the perfect choice for Rogers Park with its activist roots and diversity. These qualities make for a strong community, which is critical in creating a co-op. The co-op would provide access to trusted sources for healthy food, local and organic produce, and artisanal foods seven days a week and all year long and be a neighborhood gathering place. Sandi Price of Rogers Park Business Alliance says that RPBA “supports the establishment of a Food Co-op in Rogers Park. It’s a great way of keeping Rogers Park dollars in the community while promoting fresh, local, sustainable and healthy food.”Fun Facts…
Co-op businesses succeed at a greater rate than traditional business models. According to Stuart Reid, executive director of the Minnesota-based Food Co-op Initiative, “the success rate of startup co-ops” compared to typical new small businesses, “is very high.” There are 5 active start-up groups in the area. According to Reid, “Chicago is one of the largest cities in the United States with the fewest open co-ops. There are other mid to large cities with clusters of co-ops in development, however Chicago has the one of the strongest market areas for co-ops to impact their communities and the local economy.”
We are part of a national trend. According to Reid, there has been “tremendous” growth in the U.S. in existing co-ops as well as the emergence of new ones in recent years…based on information he has been able to collect, there are about 330 fully functioning food co-ops in the country, including 68 that started up in the last eight years. The Food Co-op Initiative also is working with 130 groups starting up new food co ops, including about 10 in Illinois. (Chicago Tribune, September 18, 2013, Food Co-ops Growing Around the Country)
The benefits of a food co-op are many and include keeping money in the community, creating local jobs that pay a living wage, and having a trusted source for fresh, local, sustainable, and healthy food year round.
The Rogers Park Food Co-op will help grow the local economy and support local sustainable farmers and food artisans. It will serve as a gathering place for the neighborhood of Rogers Park, embracing the diversity of the neighborhood and fostering stronger ties among the different social and ethnic groups, a key value of Rogers Park residents.
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