The Syracuse Real Food Co-op
The Syracuse Real Food Co-op is a very interesting access point that provides consumers with a variety of alternative and locally grown products. By placing emphasis on whole, organic and regional foods,this market place has a plethora of options that promote sustainability, community, food safety and much more. The goal of an access point like the food co-op is to promote an array natural/alternative foods that are both beneficial and accessible to the surrounding community. By doing so not only does this invoke a better understanding of where our foods are coming from but also creates a connection between the producer and the consumer that you may not typically have when shopping in the conventional food market.
So, how does a market like the Real Food Co-op work? It is actually quite simple.
The Food Co-op is made up of approximately ” 3,000+ members/owners”. Each having a major part in creating a store that meets customers needs on many different levels. Although you do not have to be member in order to shop at the Co-op, becoming one has its benefits. These includes having input on decisions pertaining to the co-op, access to local farms, participating in a variety of direct alternative food events and much more.
Being that the Syracuse Real Food Co-op is located on a residential road on Westcott Street, it is an access point that is not typically found in commercial areas, let alone certain communities. General Manager, Jeremy DeChario, gave great insight on why having access to stores that supply the community with local, organic foods is important.
While the store aims to have an inventory that is almost entirely made up of natural and organic foods, Jeremy stated that ” Although there is an abundance of locally grown products, during the winter only a little more than 20% come from local farmers.” During the summer months is when the store flourishes with more organic and variational produce options.
As the demand for local food grows, access points that provide the community with the resources, like the co-op does, will continue to cultivate a sustainable local food system built on support, promotion and the overall connection between grower and consumer.