Being lured in by South Philly Food Co-op’s “75 in 75” campaign feels not unlike that strange moment when you realize you can’t turn your radio tuner from WHYY, even though it’s just Patrick Stoner once again trying to get you to part with your money. You want to hear more. And you want to do something good.
It turns out the similar vibe is no coincidence. Alison Fritz, president at SPFC and a chief architect behind the recently launched membership campaign, worked at WHYY.
“I’ll be sitting there yelling at the radio, thinking ‘If they can get 300 new members in 30 minutes, we can get 75!’” says Fritz, a Passyunk Square resident who heads the South Philly Food Co-op board. The “75 in 75” drive is a well-organized effort with hooks ranging from its own hashtag (#75in75) to coordinated potlucks where a SPFC member will come to your dinner table and make the pitch. And, besides having a catchy ring to it, the effort’s numerical namesake – they’re aiming for 75 members in 75 days, ending April 30th – has a tangible meaning. By gaining 75 new people, SPFC crosses the threshold needed to finally secure a brick-and-mortar location. With 368 members and counting, they’re well on their way to the goal of 425.
Fritz says the SPFC mission is to create a community-run grocery store mirroring places like Weaver’s Way Co-op. What the store will carry – most likely organic and locally sourced food – is determined by members. While they’re still far from being able to offer a place to shop, the $200 membership fee comes with benefits that include free and discounted access to events like homebrewing classes and the popular local gardens tour. But the value of members goes beyond their participation in events and monetary contribution; Fritz says getting 75 new members is crucial to making the SPFC store a reality. “We need people to know we’re a good investment and that we have a community behind us,” says Fritz. “Those 425 members are 425 shoppers.”
Those interested in getting a taste of the SPFC community will have a chance Feb. 27 when the Wishing Well (767 S. 9th St.) hosts the group’s “Food Quizzo,” a boozy night of trivia for foodies. Even if you’re not won over by the passionate folks behind SPFC, you might just wish you were a member any way – all members get 15 percent off the bar tab.
For more on the “75 in 75” campaign and the co-op’s goals, visit southphillyfoodcoop.org
BRIAN RADEMAEKERS is a writer, homebrewer and gardener living in the Philadelphia area.