An (Organic) Chicken in Every Pot

If you were expecting a roomful of old hippies and prepubescent anarchists when you showed up for the organizational meeting of the Lake Worth Organic Food Co-op last week, you would have been about three-quarters disappointed. Of the 50-odd souls who gathered at Nathanson Chiropractic for an hourlong PowerPoint presentation, there were certainly dreadlocked urchins, doddering antiwar protesters, guitar strummers, and matrons in granny glasses. The guy who does "antirecruitment" work at area high schools was there, and so was Javier del Sol, ubiquitous storyteller, American Indian Movement member, and peacenik, dressed head to toe in pink. But also scattered around the room were schoolteachers, small-business persons, designers, well-coifed Jewish ladies, middle-aged Dixiecrats, medical doctors, and lipstick lesbians. A microcosm of American democracy.

The Lake Worth Organic Food Co-op has been in the works for a couple of years. Lourdes Leahy, of Lake Worth, and Lisa Denoyers, a marketing rep for organic clothing manufacturers from Boynton Beach, met when their kids were taking dance classes together. They agreed that a member-owned cooperative selling healthful food at prices just above wholesale would be a good thing. Since then, they've incorporated, formed a board of directors with four others, opened a bank account, and spent countless hours researching the cooperative biz. They've found a mentor in 30-year-old Sunseed Food Co-op in Port Canaveral.

"A food co-op buys food and household items for its members, selling them at prices as close to wholesale as possible," Tara Valentine told us. Valentine is a Montessori school teacher and board member. "It operates out of a retail storefront, and it's open to members and nonmembers." Valentine said there are about 300 food co-ops in the United States. The idea is to make healthy, inexpensive food accessible, keeping resources in the community. The board hopes to sell organic products and, when available, locally grown natural produce. There was also talk of an associated health co-op by some of the doctors there.

Sounds like a great idea to those of us who routinely drive 30 minutes to get to Whole Foods and spend a week's salary on six days worth of groceries. After the presentation, about a dozen people forked over the $100 annual household membership fee. The board is working to raise seed money, obtain grants, and find a retail space. Call Lourdes Leahy at 561-582-0099 for info.

 
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