Notes from Allied Coop Town Hall meeting on Food Access 10.17.14

steph's picture
22 October 2014 - 8:38am -- steph

Allied Community Cooperative
Town Hall Meeting on neighborhood food access
October 17, 2014
Boys & Girls Club

Participants were asked to introduce themselves and give brief comments on their  particular interests:

•    We need to improve pedestrian safety during the construction, especially before winter makes it worse.
•    Concern about the lack of a pharmacy and a grocery
•    Need access to food when we need it, not limited to certain days/hours
•    We may need to fight for a store
•    Second Harvest is a problem
•    The Fresh Market truck didn’t work out too well
•    If we own the store, and the community works at the store, it will help stop theft
•    We need a spokesperson, who can speak for everyone
•    We need to organize

Then we split into tables of 5 people apiece, and each group discussed the following questions, changing tables between questions so everyone was with a different group each time. The questions were:

What can we do right now?

What could we do in the long run?

What are you willing to do, or to ask someone you know to do?
Some of the highlights from small group discussions:
•    Flood the neighborhood with fresh fruits and vegetables from CAC, Epic, more local community gardens
•    Create soul food farm to grow for the neighborhood
•    Organize food surplus gleaning like DC Central Kitchen
•    Ride shares to store
•    Subsidized cab rides to store
•    Buying club - group shops for neighbors who put in orders, gets extra non-perishables to distribute
•    Organize orders from grocery stores that deliver
•    Shuttle bus service Sat. and Sun. to Woodman’s
•    Work with Willy Street Coop to start buying club, work toward an Allied Coop store
•    Lindsey Heights, Walnut Way for inspiration

The short-term and long-term goals and action steps that emerged were:

Short term

  • Create survey for the neighborhood, about shopping preferences and habits. Cassandra will create this and is starting it now.
  • Organize the neighborhood. We will host a monthly workshop/discussion to move this forward consistently. They will be the third Saturday of each month, 12-1:30pm, location TBA. The first will be November 15. In addition, Florenzo will be an active advocate and Alderperson Maurice Cheeks will advocate for us in city government.
  • Organize ride shares to stores. Katy will help as a driver
  • Secure subsidized cab rides for people needing them to shop
  • Work with NIP and Green Cab to get vehicles for shopping excursions
  • Work to get gas cards for ride sharing and buying club
  • Work to get surplus food from Epic and CAC gardens, others. Joe will help with this
  • Conduct outreach with pharmacies and residents to coordinate alternatives for obtaining medications
  • Get more people to help coordinate the free sandwich program currently offered, to add more capacity and serve more people
  • Secure donations from corporations and organizations to help fund these efforts. Laurie offered to help with this

Long term

  • Get policy makers to recognize food as a right
  • Create a Coop grocery store with a pharmacy!
  • Emulate Walnut Way in Milwaukee
  • City staff working to get discount grocer in Walgreen's space
  • Work with Willy Street Coop to create neighborhood coop business incubator
  • Secure city policies and incentives to bring businesses to Allied
  • Tell a new story of the Allied Drive neighborhood

photo 1-5 photo 2-5Willy Street Co-op is willing to put “boots on the ground” to help start a grocery and Anne Reynolds of UW Center for Cooperatives will help with coop developent, and will advocate for us on the Food Policy Council.

Cassandra will write a survey (more notes on the flip charts) and work with Ruth Rohlich to get it translated.  Stephanie asked people to volunteer to go door-to-door.

The issue should go before the Allied Task Force

November 15, Noon – 1:30, meet to develop a plan

Allied Coop Board meets first Thur. each month, 2-4pm. Whole group discussions/workshops 3rd Saturday each month, 12-1:30pm, location TBA.