Kensington Community Food Co-op makes membership push, negotiates lease

The Kensington Community Food Co-op (KCFC) is in the midst of taking two exciting steps forward. At the same time that KCFC is negotiating a lease for a brick-and-mortar store location, the co-op is working to add 60 members in 60 days through its “60-in-60” campaign

The two go hand in hand. Securing a store location has “been a longtime coming and we’re really thrilled we’ve gotten up this point,” said Lena Helen, KCFC board president “… [And] the more invested members we have now the better that looks to our lenders in terms of being bankable.”

Kensington Community Food Co-op Logo
Kensington Community Food Co-op Logo

By Dec. 1, KCFC hopes its 60-in-60 campaign will push the co-op over the 400-member mark, and as soon as the lease is finalized, KCFC will announce the location of its future store.

“We’ve worked really, really hard to get to this place in our project, and it’s taken quite a bit of work with consultants, working with the financial consultants and just countless hours,” Helen said. “It’s a moment lots of people in the community have been waiting for.”

The co-op’s ultimate goal is to provide healthy, quality food to members and the community by opening a cooperative grocery store, and KCFC sees itself as one of the growing number of organizations working to improve food access in Kensington. 

“It really takes a lot of us caring about the issue to change the landscape,” Helen said. 

When the store officially opens, members will receive discounted prices and will have say in how the store is run. The main, added benefit of joining before then “is you’re supporting getting the store open, which is huge,” Helen said. 

To reach their 400-member goal, the co-op has been organizing social events like a Bottle Bar East happy hour and a Pizza Brain/Little Baby Ice Cream’s eat and greet.

“At each event we have we’re recruiting new members, so it’s a really positive sign that these events are working,” Helen said and noted that she is optimistic KCFC will reach its 400-member goal.

Thursday, KCFC will partner with Adorn Boutique for a night of wine and cheese and holiday shopping. Co-op members will receive a 20 percent discount, and prospective members will be able to sign up or learn more. [Nov. 21, 7pm – 9pm, 1314 Frankford Ave.] In December, KCFC and Circle Thrift will team up for another night of shopping. While those details are pending, Circle Thrift will donate all profits from one day of sales directly to the co-op.

KCFC only expects its ties with other local businesses to grow stronger as the co-op grows and opens its official store. 

“I really envision and see the co-op now and when the store opens as a great partner with other organizations and businesses who are advocates helping to grow food access,” Helen said. “We’re not the solution. We’re part of the solution.”

Kensington Community Food Co-op has been attending neighborhood events since 2009 to sell some products and boost membership. | Photo provided by KCFC
(Kensington Community Food Co-op has been attending neighborhood events since 2009 to sell some products and boost membership. | Photo provided by KCFC)

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