Membership Drive Kickoff & Picnic - One Pioneer's Perspective

When I first arrived to the Membership Drive Kickoff Picnic at Monocacy Creek Park I found that I was one of the early arrivals.  There was small chit chat and a slow organization of the picnic area began.  Someone said, "Water is over there", "dessert items over there", "please label your food items", and Joe said, "I have beer".

Slowly more people arrived, complete strangers to me, and chit chat continued.  Hi, my name is Santiago, are you thinking of becoming members. As I chatted I realized that some of the new arrivals had heard of the Bethlehem Food Co-op but never had attended a meeting. They heard about us in the paper, they saw our Facebook page or our website and simply showed up today to join and support the cause.

As I heard this theme over & over, "we want to support the cause", I realized that there were others in the Lehigh Valley that thought along the same lines as me because I too want to support a cause.  I have many causes I support, as I am sure there were others at the Membership Drive & Picnic who also supported other causes, but today we came together to support a shared cause, "A Sustainable Lehigh Valley Food System".

This felt good, we had come together to commit not only our time but our financial support to this new cause.  A food cooperative. Our food co-op will be a grocery store organized as a cooperative. Our food cooperative is organized as a consumers' cooperative where the decisions regarding the production and distribution of its food is chosen by its members. Food cooperatives follow the 7 Cooperative Principles and typically offer natural foods. Since decisions about how to run a cooperative are not made by outside shareholders, cooperatives often exhibit a higher degree of social responsibility than their corporate counterpart.

Now I probably have never eaten a proper food diet in my life but this wonderful group of volunteers offer some of the best pot luck items you can imagine. I stuck with the homemade humus, green banana ceviche, and organic corn chips. Hamburgers and Veggie Burgers were also prepared and I had one of each. I ate plenty but it was mostly healthy and I loved it. Now some of the other items were so new to me that I simply was not ready for them so I simply moved on. For dessert fresh picked black raspberries and freshly made whipped cream, yum.

Now, with any volunteer organization who stays to clean up? Often the crowd thins quickly as activities wind down but within the group are guys & gals that are hard core team members who support one another until the end.  The picture below captures those last remaining members who on a Monday night stayed until 10PM & later to make sure everything was put away, wrapped up, cleaned up and no one was left alone holding the trash bag.  Now that's cooperation. 

After Team

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