Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why a co-op?

Dear Richmond,

I know we’re hungry.  And it’s time to feed the fire in our bellies.

We have done a good job bringing more local food options to Richmond.  It’s happening in conjunction with a broader growth and enlivening of our city center.  But we can continue to improve our food access and build our community with the birth of a very special business model:  the cooperative.

Imagine a grocery store with a bottom line of providing food options that are as local, as organic, and as affordable as possible.  Then picture yourself voting on who runs the place and ultimately what stocks the shelves.  If you decide to become a member of the Richmond Food Co-op, you will have an equal share in the business.  We all will.  For a co-op is communally and democratically owned, so as members we all get a voice in the operations.

This can’t happen without you!  The Richmond Food Co-op depends on members to open and to operate, and we need to grow our community of support.  This is a unique opportunity to join a start-up venture that has the potential to change Richmond’s food landscape in a critical and meaningful way.

Today, so much of what we eat has already been decided for us.  The best of intentions to eat healthy, local foods can be undermined by a poor grocery store selection or prohibitive prices.  We can, however, assume control of our food buying options and not wait for others to do it for us. 

Dear Richmond:  We are fired up to renovate our great city neighborhoods, beautify our riverfront, and expand our arts scene.  Let’s build on this momentum and make our food access richer, more varied, and more affordable.  I know we’re hungry.  So let’s eat!

Susan Hill

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.


Monday, December 3, 2012


Hello and welcome to the Richmond Food Co-op blog; we're so glad to see you! While we continue to get things rolling, please take a moment to look around and make yourself at home. Great places to start are our About page, FAQ's page.

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