Co-op supports local growers

Students looking for a grocery shopping alternative featuring organic foods and local produce can find environmentally conscious food co-operation within walking distance from Florida A&M’s campus.

The cooperative is located on 915 Park Ave right down the hill behind the tech building. Bread and Roses recently moved from their old location 617 Industrial Drive in the Rail Road square plaza.

Bread and Roses Food Cooperative is a non-profit organization for the community. The cooperative offers its members the opportunity to buy healthier food at a lower cost while building a sharing system where everyone participates in order to reach a common goal.

Workers established the co-op in pursuit of fair compensation for their services.

According to Adam Reid, a 26-year-old, co-op member, from Tallahassee, the co-op consists of two committees. One places orders with UNFI (United Natural Foods, Inc.) national distributor.

The other is a local distributor committee that tries to get as many locally produced products as possible. The committee is also trying to gather produce from local growers.

Reid said the cooperative should have a significant stock of produce by Thursday.

Bread and Roses provides its members with the chance to have an establishment owner and operated by its members and employees.

“The unique thing is the participative aspect of the store,” Reid said.

“That’s what we focus on here. The whole store is run off the work of its members. We require 3 hours every four weeks as a member. In return members get a lower cost for food.”

LaRae Donnellan, co-advisor of the FAMU Green Coalition, agreed, emphasizing that a local co-op allows for an engaging one-on-one experience between members and grocers.

Donnellan added that the basic idea behing a co-op is that of community and partnership.

“You can go to a local grocery store and pay a premium price when they only have a limited supply. When you go to a co-op you have much more options,” Donnellan said.

“People are more engaged in producing, distributing, buying and sharing food when you have a co-op.”

She added that the ideal distance of groceries grown is within 50 miles of the shopper’s residence. The proximity reduces the transportation, storage and refrigeration cost.

The name derived from the line of a famous poem by James Oppenheim, published by the American Magazine in December 1911, that stated, “Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.”