May 25th, 2016 9:37 PM by Nelson Aybar
Nestled in Park Slope is the famous Park Slope Food Coop. Established in 1973 by a group of neighbors who wanted fresh food options, the Coop now has over 16,500 members. One of the biggest perks of shopping at the Park Slope Food Coop is that everything in the store is about 20-40% less expensive than in other shops.
The Park Slope Food Coop is located at 782 Union Street in Brooklyn.
Organic food is abundant, but not offered exclusively. The province of where the items are from are listed in the produce section. Pasture raised and grass fed meat is available, along with free-range poultry. Delicious treats like chocolate and coffee are also at the Coop, in addition to necessities like imported and artisanal cheeses. Fresh baked bread is there as well and supplies are replenished multiple times a week, ensuring freshness.
Produce is abundant at the Park Slope Food Coop.
The savings that shoppers get at the Coop is attributed to the mandatory service that each adult in a household needs to sign up for: working at the Coop. This is done in shifts, typically for about 3 hours in length, and 13 of those shifts need to be completed in a year. In addition to keeping prices down by having members take work shifts instead of hiring employees, the Coop’s founding members also believe that this kind of investment would help members feel more connected to the Coop and more invested in its future.
The work slots are as varied as the produce that’s available for purchase in the Coop. There are opportunities to work in the office, answering the phones and helping with administrative tasks, maintenance opportunities to help keep the Coop clean, childcare providers, working as a cashier and many other options. If something comes up and you aren’t able to make your scheduled work slot, you can swap with other members and take their shift and they will cover yours.
Seasonality determines what is stocked, though FL and CA help out in cold months.
But before you are able to start your shift, there are a few steps that need to be taken in order to become a member of the Coop. First, prospective members need to attend a 2.5 hour orientation training. These take place three times a week: Mondays at 7.30pm, Wednesdays at 10am and Sunday at 4pm. Proof of identity and residency has to be established, usually with a driver’s license and a bill that was sent to your home.
Once these criteria have been met, then you’re all ready to become a member and shop away at the Coop. Most of the products at the Coop come from within a 500 mile radius of New York City. 500 miles was chosen because it is roughly a one-day truck drive away, which means that the lettuce you pick up today from the Coop was most likely just picked and trucked over to Park Slope the day before. This keeps produce very fresh and supports a considerable number of small, local farms.