Meet a Member: Diana Worley

Sprout_Diana_Worley.jpgWe've interviewed member-owner Diana Worley. Not only has Diana been integral in getting the word out about the Bethlehem Food Co-Op, but she's also been active in collecting locally-sourced recipes for the Co-Op.

First off, please introduce yourself

My name is Diana Worley and I live here in Bethlehem with my husband, John. I am the mother of two grown children. I love to cook and craft and learn and oh yes… garden.

How did you first learn about the Bethlehem Food Co-Op?

I was introduced to the co-op by a co-worker who casually mentioned that the group met at the Unitarian Church on Center Street and that I should check it out. She moved and now is missing out on all the great stuff we have going on, but I’m glad we had the casual, random conversation.

There have been other food co-ops in the area, what makes the Bethlehem Food Co-Op different? 

If you've never lived anywhere else it wouldn’t be as evident as to how unique Bethlehem really is. I think it is a community with pride and diversity; it is a college town with culture and opportunity for enrichment. It sits in a location that is a hub to other major cities like NY and Philly but also is close to beautiful natural surroundings such as the Poconos, the NJ Skylands and PA Dutch country. I think the colleges bring people to Bethlehem who decide to stay because of all these factors and make their home here and as such we have people who want to make a difference in their quality of life.

Those are our members, people who care about what they eat, their environment, community and acceptance. Open-minded people looking to make change for the good. I think that is actually the definition of the cooperative spirit, helping each other working together. That’s really refreshing in our me, me, me society.

The people who sprouted the seed of the co-op have done their homework, they are committed to success and yes, I whole heartedly believe that the co-op will thrive. We are here to stay!

And of course the technology of the day changes a lot. It enables us to communicate and cooperate so much quicker and have a wider reach to the surrounding communities. More people can know about us much quicker than ever before.

Do you think people care more about eating well today?

I think people have always cared about eating well, it just depends on your definition of eating well. To some, eating well is fine gourmet dining, to others it is the comfort foods of their culture and to others, its quantity regardless of content. I think you are referring to eating in a way that is most beneficial for good health and that isn’t always in line with the idea of eating well. Technology has flooded us with so much information about what is good and what is bad for us that I think many people are very confused about what is right for them. I think people are more health conscious, which is good but they often buy in to the magic pill of wellness because of the flood of information out there.

The co-op will bring fresh local food and a basic concept of purity that will help demystify the hype. It will be a source of food but also a source of information for the community.

Where do you see the co-op being in ten years? What role will it play in the community?

I see it going strong and being our local grocery source. And by that I mean the shopping destination for families. It will be within walking distance for Bethlehem City families to do the bulk of their shopping.

Right now we all have to get in a car and travel to a farm or farmers market to do our shopping and get the items we choose to feed our families with, the quality they deserve. Between Apples, meats, cheeses, etc., that's quite a lot of driving! We need a better option.

The co-op will fill that need; both quality and convenience. It WILL be successful because it fills the need for people who make these conscious choices.

We’ve been collecting some recipes from our members, how do these locally-sourced recipes differ from something you’d find with a Google search?

They are so much better; these recipes come with a narrative, a history… a heart so to speak. People tend to share their family favorites in community cookbooks. And along with that they share a story. Stories bring back memories and can bind people together. There are loads of good recipes out on the web and they really aren't bad. But, we all know that Google is not grandma's kitchen. I mean, they might have originally come from someone's Grandma's kitchen, but you'd never know. The recipes we've collected still have their narrative intact; they still have the "Grandma's Kitchen Element," per se. Being locally-sourced recipes they will contain locally available ingredients. Even the international recipes have been focused to include what is available locally. I can't wait to see what we can do with this collection.

What are you most excited about seeing in our store?

Besides wonderful fresh produce, I am most excited for the bulk bins! I am a bulk bin junkie! I confess, When I lived in Florida we had a store called the Barrel Grocer, and it was just that, barrels with grains, beans, coffee etc. that you scooped and weighed by the pound. I was in 7th heaven! It’s great to be able to try new things in small amounts and be able to experiment without spending a lot for something you don’t end up liking.

Thanksgiving is around the corner, so what is your favorite Turkey Day food?

This is really hard because I love Thanksgiving and everything associated with it. I am Italian so I grew up eating a tremendous day-long feast. I just can’t eat like that anymore but we try to keep with the traditions. Another tradition was sharing with others. My dad worked in his family’s bar and grill in NYC. There were some patrons he knew would be alone for the holiday, so he invited them to our house. We were blessed with wonderful memories of some very nice people.

When we moved to PA we had no close family to share dinner with so it was just the four of us. The kids had some friends who were from Poland and had no other family in the US. We started to have Thanksgiving with them and have been doing so for 6 years now. Then our daughter met a friend whose entire family is from Brazil, they invited us one year for Thanksgiving, which led to the birth of a new tradition. Our Brazilian-infused Turkey Day is an eclectic feast to be sure! So I will choose my favorites as the antipasto from my heritage and all-American Sweet Potato Casserole with streusel topping, my friend Beata’s fried potatoes and Ana’s slow-roasted pork. (Sigh)

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