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Near East Side Cooperative Market Celebrates With Grand Opening

Anne Evans Anne Evans Near East Side Cooperative Market Celebrates With Grand Opening
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The Near East Side has gotten a new fresh produce space and it is celebrating its grand opening on Saturday, as part of Local Foods Week. Local Matters opened the Near East Side Cooperative Market on May 17, 2013, sharing the 1,500 square-foot space that houses Oak Street Meat and Seafood.

The community has received the addition of the NESCM with open arms, and shopping bags. In June of 2011, the Community Health Funders’ Collaborative awarded Local Matters a $150,000 grant for the project.

“We opened knowing it was a well received idea,” says Market Director Jessica Roach. “We did a great deal of ground work canvassing neighborhoods to get input and ideas before moving forward. The foundation of a co-op is its community. We couldn’t do it without support from our neighbors.”

The co-op foundation allows the members to have input on what will be offered.

“We do have many local sources and our garden,” says Roach. “Some options are similar to Greener Grocer, mostly in produce selection, but we are a community owned, neighborhood co-op. Our product line is developed and shaped by our members and neighbors. With that, we are growing and expanding to meet the expressed needs of our neighborhood, which will make our product line slightly different.”

Roach joined Local Matters in 2010 as the Veggie Van Program Coordinator. After working as a nurse in the community for over 15 years, Roach is happy to have helped establish the NESCM in a community that needed access to healthful foods at an affordable price.

“We have an active board of community members with various skills and interests that have worked together to make this a successful addition to our community,” says Roach. “We believe that NESCM serves to do just that in a way that approaches Food Justice as a pivotal component of Social Justice for our community and communities similar to ours.”

Future plans for the co-op include offering deli items, baked goods, and healthful prepared foods. They have also begun to host a bi-monthly cooking demo and food tasting, offered by board member, Pete Wiseman. They have also hosted Tim Anderson’s organization “In my Backyard”, which does a series of juicing and smoothie classes. You will also be able to pick up your Fresh Market Bag at the NECSM soon.

The Grand Opening Celebration begins on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 11am to 4pm. There will be face painting, live music, food vendors, and an Urban Garden Bike Ride by Yay Bikes! Transit Arts will also be on site, working on a mural that will be installed on the outside wall of NESCM at a future date. $5 off annual memberships will also be offered.

“This is a celebration not just about the market’s opening, but of what this community can do together and how we can own our own solutions,” says Roach.

Individual annual memberships can be purchased for $50, Family memberships for $75, and an Elder membership (for those 65 and over or 55 and receiving SSI) for $35.

Visit the Near East Side Cooperative Market at 1117 Oak St, Columbus, Ohio, 43205. The market is currently open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am to 7pm and Sundays from 1pm until 5pm. The store is open to everyone, but members receive added benefits. For more information, visit Neareastsidecoop.org.

Photos by Walker Evans.

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