Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Co-Founding the Co-op

Co-Founding the Co-op

The story of the Co-op starts with a friendship. Susan and I went to high school together at the Governor's School (now more commonly known as Maggie Walker).  Susan was a native Richmonder while I was a recent transplant from New York City.  Being a year apart we passed each other in the halls but never met.

I graduated and headed to Washington DC, then bounced around coasts and cities, finally landing in NYC. My career trajectory focused on project and volunteer management for community and education organizations. In NY I joined The Park Slope Food Co-op and began visiting multiple farmers markets a week. My love for food, and growing realization that what and how we eat matters in huge ways, started to feel like more of a focus than an interest.

Susan left Richmond to pursue an international career in the fashion industry.  Her interest in food access and community development are fortunate byproducts of her travel opportunities.  She ultimately settled in NYC and eventually left fashion for a fundraising position in the nonprofit sector.  Susan has expressed her commitment to the good food movement through volunteer work, community garden membership, and courses in biodynamic agriculture. 


Over a decade later our lives and travels brought us back together when we attended a high school alumni happy hour in NY.  We began a friendship that would lead us both back home.

I first mentioned the idea of opening a food co-op in Richmond to Susan about a year ago. I spent the next 6 months researching researching researching, which included finding the auspicious sign that the United Nations had named 2012 as the International Year of the Co-op. Susan started off 2012 with the decision to move back to Richmond, which resulted in us piling into a 16 foot truck with all of her things and hitting I-95S in February. In April I returned to Richmond for a visit and a decision to move back by the fall. We had our first co-op vision meeting and a partnership was born.


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