Letter: Take a second look at the Co-op

Posted
Editor of the Reformer:



I understand the impetus behind Mr.'s Ambrose's points in his op-ed piece on Tuesday "This is not the Brattleboro I grew up in.") But I would caution him to not take such a baseball bat approach to something that requires a much finer observational tool. Broad assumptions that we make about who people are and how they live do not serve anyone well.

I certainly take issue with the comments about well-heeled people being the only shoppers at the Brattleboro Food Co-op, for instance. If Mr. Ambrose had done a little observing, he might have noticed that we have a healthy food access program called Food for All for a 10-percent discount for folks who are using 3Squares, WiC, or SSI. He might have noticed low everyday prices (Co-op Basics) on basic foods items throughout the store, and many conventional low-priced choices alongside the more expensive organic options, which, by the way, are getting less expensive every day as more and more people are choosing them for their health and the health of our planet. He also might have found out that the Co-op has worked closely with its partners at Groundworks Collaborative for years to serve the population of food-insecure people better, and to have a humane and human approach to the homeless population.

I am proud that many different types of people shop at our Co-op, and this is directly due to constant outreach and responsiveness. Yet, with one misinformed diatribe, Mr. Ambrose has threatened all the work that has been done to offer a balanced marketplace that both supports literally hundreds of local producers, who need to be paid fairly for their products, and lower shelf prices for those struggling to live well within small means. If you share Mr. Ambrose's view of the world, I invite you to come in to see what we are doing, and to talk with us to hear about our supportive programs. Or, you can stay in the dark and assume the worst.

Sabine Rhyne,

Putney, Nov. 14

Editor's Note: Sabine Rhyne is the general manager of the Brattleboro Food Co-op.


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