I’ve lived in downtown Bethlehem for seven years, and one I have always thought that one thing the area truly lacked was a grocery store. Sure, there are convenience stores and even a corner market, but there is nowhere in walking distance to do a weeks worth of grocery shopping. I love farmers markets and visited the SteelStacks market every week this year (its first year) without fail (except for when I was in Maine), but that market and the CSA have ended for the season, so buying local food is becoming a bit trickier (although still possible!). For the first four years that I lived downtown, I did not drive, so purchasing food was even more of a challenge.
Visiting Portland, OR, I got my first taste of how different the grocery buying experience could be. There were two major weekly markets—both well attended and well stocked by local producers. The Saturday market was truly insane. In addition to these markets, local co-ops and CSAs provided the people with a strong sense of community. People knew each other, and even if you were just visiting, they made you feel like you were part of the group. Visiting local food venues in the city, my husband and I met people that we still remember today (like the amazing hard cider producer who was originally from Norristown!). After coming back from each trip to the west coast, my husband and I missed the sense of food community that we experienced there. Seeing the local markets popping up in the past year or two and hearing buzz about local products and food events, we started to have hope that the notion would catch on in the Lehigh Valley.
Well, it looks like it has! Last week, my friend Jamie K from Save the Kales! made an exciting announcement on Facebook.
This is a fantastic opportunity for those of us who care about where our food comes from, how it is raised or grown and the ethics behind where we buy. Co-ops have so many benefits if properly executed. The amount of interest in the area seems to be phenomenal—After just a week, 528 people have joined the Facebook group about the co-op.
So, without further ado, here are three things you should do if you are interested in this endeavor:
- Read Jaime K’s two blog posts:
Bethlehem Grocery Co-Op: Let’s Do This
Official Meeting Info
- Request to join the Facebook group.
- Come to the first Co-Op meeting! It is on Wednesday, November 30 from 7-9pm at the Bethlehem Area Public Library. More details here.