Town Hall Lecture

The Town Hall Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the City of Bethlehem and Lehigh University, seeks to foster an exchange of knowledge between the university and city residents, touching on matters of current interest and of local, national, and global importance. Presentations have focused on a wide variety of topics, ranging from public history, political science, and current events to urban agriculture and community health and well-being. This month's lecture will focus on food co-ops, and the Bethlehem Food Co-Op has been invited to participate.

‘That’s Capitalism, Not a Co-op’: A Discussion of Countercultural Idealism and Business Realism in 1970s Food Co-ops

Dr. Maria McGrath, Bucks County Community College

In the late 1960s-early 1970s, Americans dissatisfied with what they saw as a socially and nutritionally bankrupt mainstream food system, created food co-ops. As experiments in collectively owned and operated business, co-ops attracted members with a wide variety of political and cultural agendas. Co-ops’ inclusiveness satisfied member’s different countercultural visions, but eventually led to internal conflict as the everyday issue of running a grocery store butted up against the turmoil of their volunteer, non-traditional structures. This talk will review the history of American cooperativism and discuss in deeper detail the issues that presented the greatest challenge to 1970s food cooperatives including: the implementation of co-op governance and management systems and the politics of food.

The Bethlehem Food Co-Op: Planting Seeds of Cooperation (& Good Food!)

Colleen Marsh, Moravian College, Bethlehem Food Co-Op Board Chair

A new wave of cooperative enterprise has grown in the contemporary era, spawned by economic and food justice issues. Modern co-ops still hold true to core cooperative principles, but have learned from the challenges & successes faced by the cooperators of the 1960s and 70s, resulting in a boom of financially and socially stable businesses across various sectors. This talk will focus on the current movement to open a food co-op in Bethlehem, its role in the local community, and the strengthening network of co-ops in the region.

October 30, 2013 at 7pm - 8pm
City Hall Rotunda
10 E Church St
Bethlehem, PA 18018
United States
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is hosting. 2013-10-16 09:44:07 -0400
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