This is the question we've asked our members, and the answers span a wide range from health concerns to community-building to social empowerment. Below are some of the testimonials our members have sent to us. Want to tell us your story? Go to our contact page to the "Testimonials" pull down and let us know why you joined the Co-op.
I joined the AFC as a full member and am taking part in the loan program because I am passionate about supporting a local food system that provides a positive alternative to the destructive, massively centralized industrial food system that is pervasive in our country today. I want to support a socially just food system that provides healthy food produced locally by small family farms in an environmentally sustainable fashion while treating animals humanely. I see the AFC as a critical part of this food system creating an interface between family farms and consumers, providing healthy food alternatives to a neighborhood that might otherwise not have access while supporting those farms. Beyond that, I see the AFC becoming a local hub that builds community, providing a meeting place where we learn from and support each other in living more sustainable, healthy, vibrant lives. Thank you to all the volunteers that have worked so hard to make the AFC a reality! If you haven't joined yet, please become a member. And if you are in a position to do more, consider becoming a full member and/or take part in the loan program if you have not done so yet. Together we can get the doors open sooner and make a positive impact in our community! Looking forward to the AFC becoming my primary location to buy food.
I’ve always liked the idea of co-ops. Years ago I was a happy member of the George Street Co-op in New Brunswick, New Jersey. I’d rather my money stay in the community than go upward and out to a corporation whose sole legal purpose is profit for the shareholders. A co-op can be larger than that. It can have goals of meeting community needs and nurturing community values. It can be a place to find quality products to feed the body and interesting people to help feed the soul. I am so tired of seeing thriving beautiful co-ops in other cities and thinking “Why not in my own city?” That’s why I’m proud to be a member of the Arroyo Food Co-op and why I’m happy I am privileged to make a loan to invest in our shared future.
Lori & Scott Webster
We joined the Co-op because we wanted to be part of a positive movement toward locally sourced food products in our community.
I had been thinking about joining the co-op for a while. Then my husband and I went camping near Santa Barbara with our then 2 year old. And as it turned out we needed a few grocery items, and we found them at the Isla Vista Co-op. I hadn't been in a co-op in a while and this one was tiny and under construction. But I just knew right then that "I want one of these". I liked everything about the place, even the smell. So I sent $30 to the Arroyo Food Co-op as soon as we got back. And now I feel so lucky that there are people in my community that are starting this. It's going to be so great!
I'm just here for the food. Ok, the drinks too. Seriously, it's about following through on that saying about making the act of raising my fork the last decision of a series of political decisions. Who am I buying my food from and how is my purchase helping them? How can my talents help to take back the greatest remaining ritual - a meal with family and friends - from the anonymous suppliers of our food? I think a storefront where things can be bought and ideas can be taught is our collective ambition.
It’s easy to bemoan but do nothing about the many social and environmental issues confronting us. Joining the Arroyo Food co-op is a tangible way to do something about them via something very basic that we do everyday. Plus you get to say "I'm a member of a co-op."
I joined the Co-op because I wanted to become more involved in the community. After sitting in on one meeting I could tell that these folks were serious, organized, and passionate about their mission. On a more personal note, I joined because I wanted to have more integrity. To put my money where my mouth was, and put more of my beliefs into practice. I wanted to be part of a group that was actively doing something to create the type of ideal community I envisioned being a part of. Happily, I am now part of this amazing group. And because of that, I am living my dream: contributing to the creation of a store that makes it easy to be an ethical consumer, which in turn encourages the development of a more thoughtful community.
There’s an positive energy in our area and an infectious take-charge attitude. Instead of turning a blind eye to our food and economic issues, it’s rewarding to join with others to see just how much we can improve things. Having visited and researched many co-ops around the country, I know how valuable they are to their communities. They’re an engine for improvement and are well loved. I want one here too!
Cooperative ownership has always made the most sense to me. Growing up I've seen neighbors pooling together to share automotive tools, bicycle commuters banding together to operate a repair shop, homesick expatriates meeting monthly to swap a library of books in English. There is this democratic and liberating quality of life in cooperation, well beyond what each of us alone can afford... or carry in the luggage. So what better use of the cooperative model in our community than a store for our daily consumption?
Helping to make things better in the community is second nature to me. I have years of nonprofit work under my belt and I don’t see the work I am doing with the co-op as being any different. I joined because I want to help create something that will not only bring delicious, wholesome food to my neighbors, but that will also educate them on why their food choices matter, keep money in the community where it can do good, and ultimately allow us to get to know one another better so we can all work together to make positive changes where we live.
Years ago, I was lucky enough to live close to a fantastic food co-op in Davis, California. The co-op was a place the whole community prized – and for good reason! It provided space for folks who loved food to come together. The store offered cooking classes that highlighted uncommon ingredients. Professors from U.C. Davis’s world-famous agricultural programs would give community lectures educating the members on important issues in food production. The store had an unrivaled selection of fresh, healthy ingredients. Why can’t we have a store like that in the Pasadena area?
Laura Floom Manning
I want to be a responsible consumer, buying products that are sustainable, created or grown by people who are receiving fair compensation and excellent working conditions. It is not always easy. The Arroyo Food Co-op will give me more choices.
I love food! Nothing makes me happier than a great selection of fresh produce, meats, and cheeses. I would love to see the kind of selection we get at the Farmer's Market available every day to the Pasadena and Altadena community, both as a grocery store and a place to build community connections.