Whether volunteering time to a civic, mentoring children or working behind a cause, many with local ties are making our neighborhoods a better place to live.
Cassie Plummer is successfully blending her affinities for food and community building. The Passyunk Square resident serves as a director-at-large for the 20-month-old South Philly Food Co-op, an all-volunteer organization eager to open a member-owned grocery store replete with locally sourced and organic grub.
Receiving a master’s degree in public health in 2006 endowed the Maine native and pharmacist with a desire to form strong community connections. The co-op allows her to educate the masses on nutritional options while also addressing bodily and civic autonomy.
“The co-op is about improving the community, having a role in keeping money in the area and supporting local food owners,” Plummer, 35, who resides on the 900 block of Wharton Street with boyfriend Justin Kumpf, said.
She began her core outreach last winter by organizing numerous healthy eating and cooking events. Because summer reigns as the most produce friendly season, she secured merchants to donate goodies to the Music in the Park series at Gold Star Park, Sixth and Wharton streets. She also raised more than $2,500 toward the co-op’s startup costs by selling tickets to Sept. 10’s first annual South Philly Garden Tour.
“There are a few misconceptions about co-ops,” Plummer said, citing opinions of them as being only for those whose lifestyles shun mainstream interests.
Regardless of perceptions, she and her allies are working with consultants to determine a feasible location for a store. Nearly 90 people have become member-owners, and the search will intensify when the tally hits 250. Plummer expressed excitement over developing more educational presentations and hopes to have the local co-op open in early ’13. Honored to be a Difference Maker, Plummer, deemed herself a benefactor of others’ aid.
“I couldn’t have gotten this far without all of the other volunteers, board members and committee members,” she said. “They are the real heroes.”
Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at email@example.com or ext. 124.
More 2011 Difference Makers:
Do you know where your food comes from before it has reached the grocery store? Did you know that some of the pesticides farmers use to dissuade insects from eating their crops are sometimes left as residue on food? Did you also know that a single apple can travel thousands of miles before reaching the grocery store you purchase it from?
The number one question that South Philly Food Co-Op representatives and member-owners get is ‘When will it be here?’