New co-op grocery store coming to Parkdale later this year
The West End Food Co-op—the folks behind the popular Sorauren Farmers’ Market—have partnered up with the Parkdale Community Health Centre to open a grocery store at Queen and Dufferin in the coming months. We caught up with Ayal Dinner, the WEFC operations coordinator, who spoke about taking the organization in this new direction.
“Part of the challenge with the current food system is that people are disconnected with their food,” Dinner says. The co-op, like the farmers’ market, encourages a mutually beneficial relationship between producers and the consumers. “It’s really about giving people access to the kind of food they want.”
The co-op was created in as a multi-stakeholder organization, meaning that the producers, the consumers and the workers all have a say in its development and operation. Unlike many mainstream co-op models, there won’t be any working requirements for grocery store members. Rather, a $5 membership will get patrons access to local, fresh and even bulk food seven days a week once the shop opens. That fee means that members are also partial owners in the business and are therefore able to participate in decision-making during the annual meetings. Participants will also be able to buy five- and 10-year bonds, which will see a small return.
The new co-op grocery store should be open by the end of the year. In the meantime, the WEFC is hosting a fundraiser and information night on Wednesday, June 15th at the Gladstone Hotel.