Davis Food Co-op establishes free interest groups

Although the Davis Food Co-op was first established in the living room of a city resident, the grocery store now has quite the reputation as being high quality and sustainable. Since its origins as a seventies child — having been actualized in 1972 — the Co-op has come a long way now offering free monthly interest group classes.

The groups range from the very particular to the very obscure, but each and every topic has the common thread of being linked and likened to something the Co-op feels could serve a community need.

The actual conception behind the formation of such groups was brought about in response to a UC Davis student who was frustrated with the lack of resources for new vegans. Since its implementation, Club Vegan has become the Co-op’s most popular congregation.

Davis Food Co-op Education Coordinator, Julie Cross, was the individual whom the Davis student reached out to with questions concerning the vegan community.

“[The student] wondered if I knew of anything. I didn’t which struck me as a hole in the Co-op’s food education system,” Cross said. “I did know exactly the right person to run a vegan group however.”

The right person ended up being Dani Lee, Sodexo worker by day, veteran Co-op volunteer in her spare time and, perhaps most importantly, a talented vegan cook.

“She was enthusiastic about the project, and we’d planned the first meeting, sent out press releases and established a Facebook group within 24 hours,” Cross said.

The group meets the first Wednesday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m. in the downtown store’s conference room — the gathering place for most of the interest assemblies.

“Club Vegan is a free gathering of friends who are interested in a vegan diet,” according to the group’s official site. “We promise snacks, samples, prizes, treats — and, best of all, the opportunity to swap resources, stories and recipes.”

With the successful implementation of the Vegan group, a host of other Co-op assemblages were quick to follow. The Food Writer’s Group, Suburban Self-Sufficiency Group, Gluten-Free Support Group and Craft Circle Group came to fruition this past January.

The groups’ influence does not dissipate when members step out the conference room doors. Saskia Mills, who is part of the Suburban Self-Sufficiency Group, has taken its teachings to heart.

“In the spirit of continuing the local conversation,” she said, “I decided to start a blog with a practical focus on homesteading in Davis.”

All of the groups were originally constructed by the Co-op but are passed on to the capable hands of community members whenever possible. And with more groups in works — such as the Walking Group set to begin meeting in July — any extra assistance is greatly appreciated.

Each and every of the previously mentioned groups are free and open to the public with more information available upon liking the Davis Food Co-op’s Facebook account.

KELLEY REES can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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