Birth of the Kale

How a food-loving community center became the most infamous — and best — socialist grocery utopia in America.

To better understand the inner workings of the Park Slope Food Coop, it helps to know that four weeks does not equal one month. This mundane fact might seem self-evident, but at the Coop — the thriving 17,000-member-strong Union Street grocery cooperative and living embodiment of the #Brooklyn brand of aspirational eating, which is also perhaps the most celebrated, and most divisive, food store in the entire country — the distinction is emblematic of the exacting, obsessive attention to detail that has been crucial to the store’s success. ...

[conclusion] ... What’s the future of food co-ops in New York when all the goalposts have moved? For Wilkins and her fellow members, a thriving cooperative won’t be measured by its panache at picking the next kale, or New York Times write-ups on infamous membership meetings. It will succeed or fail by its power to rally neighbors and energize them to take care of each other.

By Max Falkowitz

Find this complete story in Grub Street, where it is part of a series in celebration of New York Magazine’s 50th anniversary, telling the stories behind key moments that shaped the culture of New York City.



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