The Swarthmore Co-op is a uniquely Swarthmore, PA institution and an anchor of the Swarthmore Town Center. Created by Swarthmore residents 74 years ago (it is the third oldest Co-op in the nation), it is owned by its more than 1,100 members. Anyone can shop at the Co-op, members and nonmembers alike.
Beyond being a grocery store, the Swarthmore Co-op is also a community-minded outreach center. Focusing on local, organic and sustainable foods and lifestyles is its goal. Enriching the community with events like November 4-5th’s Real Food Festival, the Swarthmore Co-op partners with local farms and foodies to educate on matters relating to Farming, Local Economy, and the Environmental Impacts of food today. The Real Food Festival featured a Hands-On Farmer’s Market that engaged children in creative ways while teaching them the value of composting, cooking with local ingredients, using rain barrels and many other valuable environmentally impacting choices. After the Farmer’s Market, there were two panel discussions, led by local farming and sustainable meat experts, to further educate the community about what they can do to make an impact right now. The following evening, the Swarthmore Co-op hosted a Farm-to-Table dinner with a menu prepared by local chefs using local products.
While the Real Food Festival was a large event, the Swarthmore Co-op hosts and promotes sustainable living and local-centric thought every day. Education classes are held almost weekly ranging in subjects from teaching how to properly butcher and cook a chicken to learning the basics of what all these food buzzwords (like ‘Sustainable’ and ‘Organic’) really mean to all of us.
On December 3rd, 2011 the Swarthmore Co-op hosted its final quarterly Members’ Appreciation Day of 2011. The Eastern PA Permaculture Guild joined the Co-op that day to celebrate its members and promote creating more-sustainable human environments.
Anyone can shop at the Co-op, members and nonmembers alike.
Membership has grown significantly in recent years, first as our community came together to provide capital for the new store building, and increasingly as customers, many from outside of Swarthmore, joined in order to support a business that offers local and sustainable products with a community focus and personal touch.