A group is looking to bring a food co-op to North Brooklyn. Currently, the Williamsburg-based food cooperative is out in the community looking for members to help their plan grow.
Ryan Watson, Aurore Ballengee and Kim Wong, organizers of the Willy Point Food Coop, have been working for the last year on bringing a fresh food option to Williamsburg, the first of its kind in the neighborhood.
“We really want to support the local food system and to give those options to the community,” Watson explained. “The more local the better.”
Like the neighboring Bushwick Food Cooperative and Park Slope Food Coop, the plan is the same: support the local food system and bring an affordable and organic food option to the people of the community.
The group of young organic food entrepreneurs held their first organized event at Tradesman Bar on Bushwick Avenue last week, with the hopes of attracting potential members.
Like the other food co-op business models already in place, they will seek community support, find local distributors and ask their members to work in the store once every several weeks to help cut operating costs.
“Instead of charging a very large mark-up that most supermarkets would charge, were going to charge a mark-up that is relevant to what we need to just sustain the business model,” he explained.
Watson also runs the Brooklyn Seed Company, a local urban farm that will also act as one of the suppliers for the Willy Point Food Coop. However, they will also be looking to places like the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm and Brooklyn Grange to provide food.
“Part of the reason we’re here tonight is we want to start the dialogue with the community to find out what they need, and what they want in this kind of a system,” Watson said. “We would like to find out about doing a community meeting space, a performing arts area, something for open mic night, maybe a garden or those types of community arts projects.”
Bartenders at Tradesman Bar integrated some of the organic products brought over from Watson’s Brooklyn Seed Company to show how the community can work together to serve up some unique organic options.
“I think it’s just reaching out to the community,” said Larissa Varges, Tradesman bar owner. “We have a venue for people to be tasting his product, and we kind of get the word out by helping these small businesses in the area.”