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New Co-op Opens In Kensington
Food

New Co-op Opens In Kensington

Need to buy groceries this week? Perhaps you should think about skipping your usual market and check out the Kensington Community Food Co-Op.

After nearly eleven years of planning, the co-operative celebrated their official grand opening last weekend with music, food trucks, and face-painting.

Meet the Kensington Community Food Co-Op.

In the store, visitors can find fresh produce, pantry items, and frozen food. Organic, vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, and GMO-free options are also available for purchase.

The goal of the food co-op is to provide community members with local food and access to healthier food options. A co-operative is different from conventional grocery stores because rather than being owned by a corporate entity, its owned by the neighborhood.

Instead of there being one boss, member-owners elected a board of directors who then designate a general manager to oversee day-to-day operations. Mike Richards currently serves as General Manager.

“When you buy into the food co-op, you’re reinvesting in the neighborhood you live in,” Richards said. “You’re taking ownership of your neighborhood and what’s going on there.”

How the Kensington Co-Op Works

Produce section of the Kensington Community Food Co-Op

Members get a 5 percent discount once a month on and can receive exclusive discounts for workshops, classes, and shops. The co-op is partnered with over 50 local businesses in a program called Shop Local and discounts can be redeemed by showing your membership card.

To become a member, you can make a one-time payment of $200 that will apply to an entire household. It is also a lifetime investment.

Despite the benefits that come with being a member, the co-op is open to all. If you’re not ready to become a member, you can still shop there.

The Kensington Food Co-op tries to be accessible to everyone. The Co-op has a Food For All Program for low-income members, granting them a 10 percent discount on purchases.

The establishment also plans to accept EBT and is currently awaiting approval.

If you’re living a zero-waste lifestyle, there is a bulk section available for visitors to bring their own container. Be sure to weigh your containers before filling them up!

The co-op primarily serves Kensington, Port Richmond, and Fishtown. KCFC has been working to connect with the community to make themselves a visible resource and providing education.

“A lot of people are interested in having a local grocery store coming into their neighborhood but they don’t know what a food co-op is,” Richards said. “We’re trying to create this message of shared wealth and that we operate in a different manner and not driven by a bottom-line dollar.”

The co-op understands issues of strife in the area and is planning to have training from Prevention Point and plan to organize community-oriented events.

In terms of taking a specific stance on how to address the opioid crisis and people experiencing homelessness in the area, there will not be one collective answer. Members have varying opinions on how to tackle these issues. The co-op aims to at least create dialogue in the community.

Equal Exchange bulk coffee

There is an emphasis on buying local. The amount of local produce in stock depends on the season, but more local vendors have been collaborating with the co-op.

Small businesses are being provided with a platform to grow with the assistance of the KCFC. The co-op wants to make sure everyone is being treated fairly.

“It’s important to us that when we’re making relationships with farmers, vendors, and laborers that we’re paying fair prices for those items and that we’re not undercutting the vendor,” Richards said.

“It’s important that the vendors we’re dealing with feel like we’re taking care of them and that the staff feel that same way,” he added.

What sets them apart is their liquor license, which no other co-op in Pennsylvania has. Adjacent to the grocery section is a café and bar. Visitors can have a beer and sit, or take a drink to-go.

With having that café, it acts as a community space for people in the neighborhood to utilize to hang out or host meetings.

Equal Exchange recently hosted an event there on Wednesday, discussing control over the food system and mobilization as citizen-consumers.

Running a co-op comes with its challenges. Aside from trying to get people to invest, they are working against the increase in online shopping.

Richards said co-ops once had the advantage of providing organic and local food. As more people joined that movement, supermarkets now have those offerings.

“Food co-ops no longer corner the market on those things so now we’re all fighting in the same space,” he said.  “Food co-ops don’t have the same market power as Walmart has.”

Despite the battle of the sustaining themselves against large corporations, the KCFC is far from giving up. Having just opened, they are still settling into their new space. The Kensington Food Co-op will work to feed its community and have their doors open to them.


The Kensington Community Food Co-Op is located on 2670 Coral Street. Hours of operation are between 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily. The café and bar are also open during these times.

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Siani Colon
Siani is a junior journalism major with a minor in Latin American Studies at Temple University. She is an editorial fellow at Motivos Magazine and also works for student publications like The Temple News and 14th Street Magazine. During her downtime, Siani loves watching documentaries on Netflix. View all posts by Siani Colon

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