Group looks to bring food co-op Windsor Terrace
by Andrew Pavia
Oct 10, 2012 | 987 views | 1 1 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After fighting for months to stop a Walgreens from replacing a Key Food in Windsor Terrace, leaving the neighborhood with few fresh produce options, community members are taking matters into their own hands.

Eight residents have banded together to create the Windsor Terrace Kensington Food Co-op. According to founding member Jack O'Connell, the idea had been floating around the neighborhood for years, but the timing now is just right.

“The community is ready to take this idea on,” said O'Connell, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1985.

A meeting to introduce the idea to the community will be held on Tuesday, October 23, at 7 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 1511 10th Avenue. At the meeting, residents will be able to discuss what the co-op should sell and a possible location for the store.

O'Connell said that the co-op is in such an early stage that the eight members are still trying to determine the best way to buy and sell fresh produce items to residents of Windsor Terrace.

So in June, the co-op asked for a little help from an already successful neighborhood grocer. A few founding members of the Park Slope Food Co-op met with O'Connell and others to give a few pointers.

“The meeting was extremely helpful,” said O'Connell. “The one key factor to starting an organization like this is to gain community support.”

So the members of the co-op are trying to create a buzz in the community, and with an email list of over 80 residents they are feeling optimistic about the meeting.

However, O'Connell said his greatest fear is not having an empty room for the meeting, but having an empty store once the meeting is over. He is nervous about people being unable to commit themselves, as the two main aspects of the project needed from community members are time and money.

When asked if the co-op will be looking to open a storefront, create a malling list for delivery of fresh produce from a farm, or have an open farmers market once a week, O'Connell said all of them and none. He said that the co-op is looking forward to the upcoming meeting with the community because all options are on the table to address the lack of fresh produce options in the area.

“The idea is to provide residents of Windsor Terrace with food alternatives that are reasonably priced,” said O'Connell.

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Steve LeVine
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October 10, 2012
Jack and his group are definitely working hard to see if the co-op can become a reality. That is one of the efforts. Another effort still taking place is Green Beans Not Walgreens. It is a coalition of community members as well that are working to make sure that Walgreens meets the demands of the neighborhood by providing a large, full-service fresh food market. We have let them know that current Walgreens/Duane Reade standards of "enhanced grocery offerings" will not be acceptable as they fall way short.

Ideally, we look forward to a full-service market such as Key Food or other supermarket operator opening at the same site and the food co-op down the road as another great alternative for the community.