West Philly's Mariposa Food Co-Op, located at 47th St. and Baltimore Ave., has been bringing locally-grown, sustainable products to the community for 40 years, long before it became a hot-button topic splashed across magazine covers and featured prominently on menus. In a neighborhood generally bereft of healthy, affordable goods, the crew at Mariposa has struggled in a retail space that only provides 500 square feet for shoppers. They're planning on expanding to a new space five times the size of the original, which includes a rooftop farming area with local bee hives. The ribbon will be cut in October.
"We're moving into an old bank a block away that will grow our floor plan to more than 2,500 square feet at 4824 Baltimore Avenue," said long-time member Leah Pillsbury, who is also on the committee for expansion. "We're trying to raise $10,000 in small donations by the end of May to assure that construction will begin on time in late June. Every dollar helps."
Currently, the store is only available to members who either pay a small membership fee or contribute by working at the shop a few hours per month. At the new store, they will become a full-service market, and non-members will be allowed to shop there as well, providing the entire neighborhood with access to their large selection of healthy goods. Mariposa works with the Lancaster Farmer's Co-Op and many of our favorites are represented at the market, including Mill Creek Farms, one of West Philly's urban growers.
"Members will still have the advantage of a percentage off of the sticker price," said Pillsbury. "And those who work for a few shifts will receive a fairly substantial discount on their purchases. The expansion will also allow us to increase our buying power with growers."
We suggest you check out the video which details the expansion, and for those inclined, you can make a donation at the site. We're definitely fans of this very worthwhile project, as opposed to the monolithic Pathmark-That-Wasn't up in Northern Liberties, which is doing nothing but taking up space. As of this post, the donations are close to $3,000, so they're not far off from the original goal of $10,000. [The Feast]