So since the start of the semester, I've been volunteering bimonthly at the Hampden Park Co-op. It's one of the last member-owned AND run co-ops. There are about four or five full-time employees, the rest of the work is done by the volunteers. Started in 1979, and moved maybe three times since then, they're currently situated in a seemingly tiny building on the corner of Hampden Avenue and Raymond Avenue. If you're driving down Raymond to or fro the Saint Paul campus, you can't miss its big blue sign.
|The inventory.... So much inventory....|
Having only been doing this for three months now, I am still in the process of learning what I'm doing. There are a couple folks who know where anything and everything goes in the store - I tend to be asking those people for help quite often.
|This is another volunteer, James, in front of |
the co-op's diverse bulk section
Why do I do any of this? Well, because volunteers, because they make it all happen, get a discount depending on how much time they invest in the co-op. If you work three hours a month, you'll get a 12% discount. If you work six, it's 17%, and if you are one of the rare few that works 12 hours a month, you get 23% off EVERYTHING in the store (well, not everything, not eggs or milk). This discount is wonderful for someone like me who likes their food local. I don't care so much about organic, but they have so much local stuff it's amazing! Local butter, local milk, local eggs, local veggies, local fruit, local baked goods, local cheese, local whatever! I love it. Local stuff there tends to be cheaper than the store-brand stuff at other stores, (Land O' Lakes at Cub? $3.89 a pound. Local butter at the co-op? $3.29 a pound - before discount :D). And if I want organic foods? I can get organic flour in bulk for only slightly more than conventional flour. What a steal! Except it's not! Because by buying and volunteering for the co-op, I'm helping support my local food community! What's there to lose?
|I guess there is something to lose... |
like packaging olives......
I hate olives....