Ambler Food Co-op Holds First Membership Meeting, Nears 100 Members - Generocity Philly

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Apr. 29, 2014 12:15 pm

Ambler Food Co-op Holds First Membership Meeting, Nears 100 Members

As the Kensington Community Food Co-op prepares to lease their space and the South Philadelphia Food Co-op speeds past 600 members, another co-op is taking root in Montgomery County.

As the Kensington Community Food Co-op prepares to lease their space and the South Philadelphia Food Co-op speeds past 600 members, another co-op is taking root in Montgomery County.

The Ambler Food Co-op held its first membership meeting last week after two years of organizing. This may seem like a long time to exist without setting up a storefront, but for co-ops, this process is more than setting up a store — a community also has to be built.

“First we went to the community and asked people to pledge support before actually taking money to make sure there was a critical mass of interest,” said Kathleen Casey, president of the co-op.

The co-op gathered 400 pledges of interest. Since then, it has since incorporated and formed bylaws. The Keystone Development Center, a consultancy firm for PA co-ops, also did a feasibility study free of charge. This study suggested that Ambler could financially support a food co-op.

Casey said that the co-op is close to hitting 100 members, and she hopes that milestone is reached in the next few days as more applications trickle in after the first meeting. Members pay $400 in equity, payable all at once or in installments.

The longer-term goal is to draw 1,200 members and $1.2 million in capital to launch the business.

“It’s really remarkable to us how much people come to us with a similar vision of supporting local economies and local food,” Casey said. “There’s really such an incredible interest.”

For more information on the co-op’s next steps, check out an overview of its business plan.

(Photo via Ambler Food Co-op)

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Alex Vuocolo is a freelance writer and co-founder of SPOKE magazine, a free print quarterly about cycling in Philadelphia.

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