By: Mary Gorka
Nine months after the first community meeting, the committees of the Ambler Co-op plan a rousing gathering on for October 18, at 7 PM. It will be held at the Ambler Theater. This meeting’s goal are to educate people about co-ops, to bring the community up to date on what has been achieved so far and to point the way down the road to what’s next.
It is almost a year since a small group of interested people met to discuss the idea of developing a co-op in Ambler; to have fresh local food, close at hand. The year 2012 is the International Year of the Co-op and crowds of supporters showed up for the first community meeting in January. Many signed up for the steering, finance/legal and Membership/Outreach/volunteer committees. These folks have put in hundreds of hours navigating the vast field that is co-op development. They have visited other co-ops, attended workshops and conferences, circulated a survey that would help ascertain the feasibility of an Ambler Co-op. And much more, that will be presented at the October meeting.
For those who don’t know what a co-op is and does, here is a definition: It “is a collectively owned grocery store guided by values of honesty, openness and social responsibility. Food co-ops often focus on selling natural foods to co-op members, although other products may be carried as well. Many food co-ops focus on supporting local farmers, fair trade, and sustainable and eco-friendly production. Co-ops in general are guided by social responsibility, group management and democratic decision making, leading to achieving common goals of economic, social and cultural needs.”
Co-operative action is as old as time and a survival action for our oldest forbears. Tribes hunted together and shared the meat. Weavers formed guilds to protect their trade. Worldwide, there are now a billion members of various trade, farm, banking, carpentry, pottery, and community organizations. They are the truest and most useful of democratic actions. In America, where food co-ops have sprung up, businesses and trades around them thrive and communities experience more of neighbor knowing neighbor and decreased crime rates. The founders of the Ambler Food Co-op realize this and hope that the attendance of the second community meeting on October 18, at 7 PM at the Ambler Theater is even greater than the first one. There is much to be gained by all.