Brooklyn, Be Mine? The Bushwick Co-op

With February 14th in mind, ExchangeMyPhone has written this Valentine series for Ioby highlighting a handful of people and organizations that perform labors of love for the borough’s wellbeing. ExchangeMyPhone is a website for anyone to sell (or recycle) their old phones and their blog is full of local, and global, green innovation stories.

The Bushwick Co-Op: It isn’t easy being green

In neighborhoods like Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Park Slope food co-ops are well established and doing great things to supply their communities with fresh, locally grown food.  But in other, less affluent Brooklyn neighborhoods these types of organizations are struggling to get off the ground, or perhaps better said, struggling to break ground.  As of 2009, this is just the lesson a small group of Bushwick community members has learned first hand.  But with much enthusiasm, and even more dedication, the organization has moved into its third year more determined than ever to prove that local, affordable access to food is not an unrealistic expectation.  

As the group says on their website, they are currently more of a buying club than a proper co-op but hope to be relocating into a permanent storefront later this year.  The Buying Club for now acts as a foundation to bolster fiscal support (a small percentage of profits go towards co-op operations) and build a foundation of members so that the storefront will be a sustainable and fully functional fixture in the community.  The Bushwick Co-Op Buying Club is currently providing 150 member households with organic food at wholesale prices.  These individuals are part of a tight knit group and dedicate four hours every four weeks to the operations of the organization; placing orders, making food deliveries, fundraising, recruiting new members, and contributing new ideas at their monthly meetings.  

The Bushwick Co-Op purchases their products from four primary sources: the Brooklyn Roasting Company (that provides delicious, locally roasted coffee beans), Cayuga Pure Organics (an upstate grain farm), the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative (where hormone-free meat and dairy products are purchased) and Abner Lapp’s Clearview Farm.  Personal relationships with the food sources are a priority for the Bushwich Co-op and the Sourcing Committee takes this very seriously.  They even spent a recent weekend with Abner Lapp and his family in Pennsylvania! All members had a wonderful time lending a hand with the milking, seeing the free-range chickens run about in their natural habitat, and enjoying the best raw dairy and the freshest meat in the farm’s pastoral setting.  They even returned bearing Amish potatoes chips, which, needless to say, sold out immediately.