City proclaims Oct. 19 ‘Philly Grocery Co-op Day’

On Friday morning, Mayor Jim Kenney hosted a celebration for the inaugural Philly Grocery Co-op Day, which will be Oct. 19 of every year going forward.

From left to right: Mike Richards (GM, Kensington Community Food Co-op), Mike Litka (GM, Swarthmore Co-op), Jon Roesser (GM, Weavers Way Co-op), Mayor Jim Kenney, Lori Burge (GM, South Philly Food Co-op), Aj Hess (GM, Mariposa Food Co-op) gathered at the Mayor’s Reception Room Friday, October 18th to receive the official proclamation of the inaugural Philadelphia Grocery Co-op Day.| Photo by Tom Beck

On Friday morning, Mayor Jim Kenney hosted a celebration for the inaugural Philly Grocery Co-op Day at City Hall, which will be Oct. 19 of every year going forward. 

“Philadelphia has one of the most thriving co-operative economies in the country from food to housing and art,” the mayor said. “All of that is because of your continued investment in our city.”

Kenney also said that “providing opportunities to get involved is the best way to create a close-knit, safe and healthy community and repair the impact of racial and economic adjustments. By employing our city’s workforce and investing back into our local communities, co-ops also foster equitable growth and development in our city.”

State Reps. Chris Rabb and Mary Isaacson were also in attendance.

“When we talk about business, we shouldn’t talk about the huge corporations that we can bring here,” said Rabb. “We should be talking about that substantial subset of businesses that actually create community wealth and makes it easier for those of us in elected office to funnel appropriate resources to make all communities thrive within and for the city.”

“I wanted to come out and be supportive of the Kensington Community Co-op, which is in my district,” said Isaacson. “I just truly admire what has been done there by the community.”

The Kensington Community Co-op is the first and only food co-op in the River Wards. It opened in April.

“This has been a tough road,” said the Kensington Community Co-op’s general manager, Mike Richards. “It took us over 10 years to get open and finally I’m excited to announce that we officially opened our doors in April of this year. And so we’re really excited to be a part of the growing co-operative food economy here in Philadelphia and being able to provide our community with local healthy food, provide jobs to the local neighborhoods and really to try and be a welcoming space for a very challenging part of the city.”

Lori Burge, general manager of the soon-to-be-open South Philly Food Co-op, also spoke at the event.

“We have been organizing for quite some time – about 10 years now. And the South Philly Food Co-op is excited to note that we’ve made some tremendous progress and we are in the construction phase of our development, which means that we are getting positioned to open our 2,333-square-foot grocery store here in South Philly, right near Broad Street and Snyder.”

The South Philly Food Co-op is expected to open early next year. Earlier this year, the co-op announced that it had met its $1.14 million funding goal to open the store. The funds were donated by 1,120 of the co-op’s member-owners. Other food co-ops in the city include the Mariposa Food Co-op in West Philly, the Weavers Way Co-op in Mount Airy and another Weavers Way Co-op in Chestnut Hill. The suburban Weavers Way Co-op in Ambler and the Swarthmore Co-op were also celebrated at the event.