Monday, November 24, 2014

In Our Own Words: Member Testimonial (Mark L.)

Why am I a member of the Richmond Food Coop? In addition to a love of food, social justice, and cooperative models, I feel passionately about the power of stories. Each of us brings our own stories to the table and we build community by sharing them with one another. Food brings us together, but what we share with each other through the stories we tell constitutes a meaningful solidarity. A great example in recent memory is the Co-op Book Club where we have enjoyed great food all the while creating good memories and stories.


Growing up in Central New York where I was fortunate to have a caring family taught me the value of family and community. As my grandma would say, “We didn’t have much, but we had each other.” I agree that what is most important is having each other. Grandma Hole (yes that is my Mom’s maiden name) was the matriarch of our family. This woman was a force in and of herself. Not only could she prepare enough food for big family gatherings during the holidays, but she would also invite any person she knew to their tiny home if she thought they might be alone for the holiday. To me there was always a kindness about her that could never be replicated. During those times when we would go over to my grandparents’ house my Mom, brother, and I would always be the first to arrive and the last to leave. I realize now that this was my Mom’s opportunity to actually sit down to talk and to share what was going on in their lives before everyone showed up. I loved to sit and listen to them talk about relatives and how they were doing and “catching up” or telling stories of the past. I believe that my Mom wanted to absorb as much of her parents’ life and their stories before they were not here to share it with her anymore. We would all go to my grandparents for a meal and to indulge in those comfort foods that we enjoy during the holiday season, but it was the time and the stories we shared that made the holidays special. My grandparents were of that generation that lived through the depression where they saved everything they could but also realized that if they had the means they would always give to those less fortunate.  I learned the value of giving from my family and this is something I hold dear to me as I see a world where people increasingly focus on themselves and not others.

I joined the Co-op because I believe in family and community. Our social fabric is being constantly assaulted. It is reaching a point where we might never be able to regain the sense of community, family, and empathy that is so desperately needed. This is my opportunity to do my best to mend our social fabric by sharing my life, my stories and myself. I want people to know they are not alone and that together we can mend the fabric of our community by sharing our stories and lives with one another. My grandma would be proud of me and all of us.

Thanks to Michele for providing me the opportunity to share my story with other Co-op members. I will always miss my home state of NY, but I have my new family here in Richmond with Tracy Citeroni, two dogs, a cat, and the Co-op.


-Mark Lewis, Co-op Member/Owner

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Giving Thanks: The Co-op Way!


And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart, "Your seeds shall live in my body, And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart, And your fragrance shall be my breath, And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.” 
-Khalil Gibran



Gratitude happens when we slow down and find space to appreciate the things that sustain us. Thanksgiving is perhaps the perfect Co-op holiday - a tradition rich with gratitude and the underlying premise that cooking and eating together is an expression of love. Our Co-op community is bound by a vision that what and how we eat matters in ways large and small. 

This Sunday brings our 2nd Annual Co-op Potluck - a pre-Thanksiving treat in which our larger Co-op community to comes together to celebrate. Let's cook for each other, eat together, and give thanks for this ever growing Community that is changing Richmond's food future. Join us for a feast of a celebration! 

If you can't read the last one it says: Co-ops make the world a better place!

-Michele Lord, Co-Founder & Project Manager

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Grow Your Board!


Every election is determined by the people who show up. - Larry J. Sabato

Election day is here! And what's even better than casting your vote for your state and local representatives? Casting your vote for your Co-op. This week marks the last in an open call for nominations to our democratically elected board, with elections coming at our next annual meeting in January. 

This isn't your average grocery store - this is YOUR grocery store. We are a 100% locally owned and governed business that puts ownership in the hands of its members. Members of the Richmond Food Co-op participate in the governance of the organization through this all important process of electing board members to represent them. What's more, all member/owners are invited to go a step farther and put their own names in the hat to run for office. Nomination forms are due by Friday, November 7th.


Not a member/owner yet? By joining now you have the opportunity to shape our next stage of development. Make this Co-op yours - own it today.

Vote today for the future of your city, state and country. Vote in January for your Co-op and community. 


-Michele Lord, Project Manager


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Co-op Cohorts: Museum District North (NOKEN) Report


It is an exciting time to be living in Richmond!  Richmond has come a long way as a city and community just in the past 10 years to the point where it is today. The vibrancy of the city is being felt far and wide as can be seen in the numerous accolades Richmond has been featured in; Frommer’s Top Destinations for 2014, Forbes Up & Coming Cities for Entrepreneurs, Road Runners Club of America Runner Friendly Community.  Here in Richmond, we take pride in our food and like feeling of being part of something local.   From breweries, farmers markets, to creative cuisine, Richmond seems to embrace the want for locally sourced goods.

Being part of the Richmond Food Co-op will allow Richmond to once again have a community owned grocery store where they can shop for their local goods in a one stop spot.  As the winter months approach and the Farmers Market Season winds down it makes the need for a Food Co-op in Richmond even more important.    Being part of your local cohorts is also really important as we start to build a community feel for our food co-op. 

Myself, Kristina Preisner, and my boyfriend Ben Kusterer are the leaders of the North of Kensington neighborhood. We look forward to meeting you at future events, including our very first get together - a happy hour at Ardent Craft Ales tomorrow night (6-8pm)! We are hoping to meet many Co-op neighbors but also welcome anyone from our larger Co-op community (members and non-members alike; neighbors and not) to join us. 


-Kristina Preisner, NOKEN Cohort Leader

Co-op Cohorts are a new initiative of small neighborhood communities amongst our Co-op membership base. As we near 600 member/owners we want to ensure that you still have the opportunity to create meaningful relationships and networks amongst your fellow members. Our leadership team is growing with 6 Cohorts formed hosting get togethers. Each month we will take the opportunity to introduce you to the leaders and neighborhoods who make up our larger Co-op community. We are still looking for representation in a few pockets of town so email us if you're interested in getting involved!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Co-op Cohorts: Northside Report


My name is Brenna Wade and my boyfriend, Ken, and I joined the Richmond Food Co-op because we believe in really being a part of our community.  We are big supporters of small business and would find ourselves traveling here and there to stores and farmer’s markets for local bread, eggs, and different types of produce.  Both back in graduate school and busy with work and other activities, we found ourselves wishing there was a one stop shop full of local foods and that supported and gave back to the community in a way that convenient big box stores do not.  Needless to say, when we heard about the Richmond Food Co-op we joined right away! 

While we moved to the Northside neighborhood of Bellevue for a number of reasons, what really sold us was the deep-rooted bond between neighbors and active community.  As the neighborhood cohort for members north of Laburnum in Bellevue, Ginter Park, Rosedale, and Lakeside, I will be working hard to ensure that your voices are heard and am excited to bounce ideas off of you on how to root the Co-op deeper into our own communities.  I am excited to meet with all of my Northside neighbor co-owners and with those who simply want to learn more about it.  I will be working with the Bellevue Merchant’s Association and will be planning monthly events aimed at bringing the Co-op and the Northside together.

Now it’s your turn!  Get involved and work with fellow co-owners however you can and most importantly spread the word to those neighbors who haven’t heard of the Co-op yet.  We get closer to opening our doors with every new member that joins in our community.  If you would like to become more involved in any way or to become a Cohort for your individual neighborhood, contact Michele and let her know!  Hope to see all of you Northsiders at our first meet and greet on October 26th! 


-Brenna Wade, Co-op Member/Owner & NoLa Northside Neighborhood Cohort Leader

Monday, September 22, 2014

Co-op Cohorts: Museum District Report

Co-op Cohorts are a new initiative of small neighborhood communities amongst our Co-op membership base. As we near 600 member/owners we want to ensure that you still have the opportunity to create meaningful relationships and networks amongst your fellow members. Our leadership team is growing with 5 Cohorts formed and planning their initial get togethers. Each month we will take the opportunity to introduce you to the leaders and neighborhoods who make up our larger Co-op community. We are still looking for representation in a few pockets of town so email us if you're interested in getting involved! 



I recently moved from Church Hill and now make the Museum District my home. I look forward to not only meeting my new neighbors, but also my fellow Richmond Food Co-op members who live nearby.  I met recently with my new neighbor, and fellow member, Kristin Klein who is helping to lead our neighborhood cohort.  We are planning some events for this year as well as the next, in hopes that we can create a stronger bond amongst our members while exploring new ways to recruit others.  Our first event will take place next month at the VMFA.  We hope to bring our members together for a picnic in the sculpture garden. The invite will be coming soon! 

In November we hope to have a follow up at the VMFA, with a food related art tour that is part of the upcoming Flour and Fork event.  I highly encourage everyone to further explore the upcoming Fire, Flour and Fork event.  It is a weekend food event like no other Richmond has seen, that blends the best of Richmond’s culinary scene through lectures, dinners, tours and demonstrations. We are blessed to have so many festivals, award winning restaurants, parks, breweries, and markets in which we can all find time to gather and share new ideas for making our Co-op the best that it can be.  

We are so very fortunate to be living in a city that is part of a culinary revolution.  Our local establishments are receiving an unprecedented amount of national and international acclaim.  Let’s make our Co-op part of this momentum.  Meet with your fellow members, form new friendships, spread the word about how much better our city can be once we are able to walk through those doors and have the local bounty at our finger tips!

-Brett Hunnicutt, Co-op Member/Owner & Cohort Leader

Friday, September 12, 2014

Community Forums Are Back!


Have you heard the word? Community Forums are making their fall debut next Wednesday, September 17th at 6:30pm! This month we will meet at Gather (409 E. Main Street). The forums are free, open to the public, and the best way to get in the know about Richmond's food future. If you're not a member yet come join us (and join us!) for an overview of cooperative principals, the benefits to having a co-op in Richmond, and the reason that membership = ownership.

If you are a member help us spread the word - our Community Forums are the best way to grow our membership because once people know about the Co-op how can they not want to join?! Invite your friends to become a part of the movement.

Also, any existing members who want to get involved can join us at the same time and place for a Co-op Cohort Ambassador meeting. It's time to get back to your Co-op!