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Posts tagged ‘Food Processing Crew’

Coop High

After another shift at the Park Slope Food Coop, it struck me how much it’s like high school. Founded in the early 70s, you report to a plain brick building where all members have committed to work three hours a month.  Reliant on this to keep the store running, absences have to be excused and “make-ups” made up.  If an infraction or “alert” appears on your record, you may be called up to the wood paneled administrator’s office to explain.  The store won’t offer plastic bags but the walls are covered in a forest’s worth of multicolored paper handouts.  A crew leader, who now represents authority but likely followed the Grateful Dead at some earlier point in their life, self-consiously tracks attendance and assigns tasks. Within the first 15 minutes, cliques form among the overbooked activities moms, bicycle boys and senior members long over the novelty. The cool guy picks the music.  True to form, I’ll grumble in front of the other kids to blend in, but am secretly thrilled by my spice weighing assignment and can’t wait to graduate to cheese slicer.  Jennifer shows me the ropes as we chat away about Puerto Rico where she’s from.  Cheerful and irreverent, she’s picked up extra days to make up for a trip to Italy the month before.  She’s the friend I would have made in detention.  With 15 minutes to go, we’ll all start watching the clock.  Shift over, class dismissed.

Coop Break

Today was my work shift at the Park Slope Food Coop.  I am on a food processing crew which means that, every four weeks, I make my way across Union street, pull on an apron and start bagging spices, grains, nuts – whatever is missing.  I thought this was only means to an end so I could shop there, but it’s become something that I look forward to every month.  I love the easy, early morning chat that transpires between a handful of people with only dried cranberries and brazil nuts in common.  It’s a nice lull before turning in my apron and heading upstairs to jostle with the tatooed yoga mommies for organic mangoes, green peppers and Spanish cheeses, another shift completed.