Looks at the workings of a highly profitable supermarket, Brooklyn's Park Slope Food Coop, which for 44 years has been a shining example of a successful alternative economic system at work.
Directed by Tom Boothe
Produced by Christian Pfohl, Lardux Films
Executive Producers: Marc Boyer, Isabelle Chesneau, Christian Pfohl
Asst. Director: Maëlanne Bonnicel
Editor: Hélène Attali
Sound Editor: Adam Wolny
Camera: Greg Harriott
A co-production of Lardux Films and Télébocal with the support of Région Ile de France and CNC
FOOD COOP takes us deep into the belly of the Park Slope Food Coop, one of America's oldest cooperative food supermarkets, with a healthy dose of insight and wit.
"An amusing and enlightening food exposé...Capture[s] the essence of this unique emporium." Hollywood Reporter
Nestled deep in New York City, which, for many, exemplifies both the glory and the horrors of the capitalist spirit, you can find this highly prosperous institution, just as American and certainly more efficient than Wall Street, but whose objective is entirely non-profit. Working against everything that defines "The American Way of Life," the basic principles of the Park Slope Food Coop are simple: each of its 16,000 members work 2.75 hours per month to earn the right to buy the best food in New York at incredibly low prices. This Brooklyn coop founded in 1973 is probably the best implemented socialist experience in the United States.
Through FOOD COOP, you will see this institution come to life and witness how the enthusiasm that animates the Park Slope Food Coop demonstrates a potential for change; how the coop's mode of participation viscerally teaches democracy to those who take part in its activities.
Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2017
Copyright Date: 2015
DVD ISBN: 1-941545-96-3
"This work wonderfully presents the successes and challenges that cooperative organizations face...Park Slope Food Co-op is a shining example of how people can work collectively - literally - to access quality products at affordable prices. As an educator, I appreciated that the film focused Park Slope's value-driven business: if you can tap into people's common values, you can build something really special that fulfills our collective human propensity for support and cooperation. I hope I can use this film in my own classroom soon!"
Keri L. Jacobs, Assistant Professor and Cooperatives Extension Economist, Department of Economics, Iowa State University
"Food Coop is a fabulous inside look at Park Slope, one of the most iconic food coops of the past half century. With some of the best footage of a cooperative I have seen, the filmmakers take us beyond the membership barriers to see how the coop functions on a day-to-day basis and to meet many of the personalities that make the coop so successful. Offering a vivid illustration of a cooperative economy at work, this film will be valuable both in and out of the classroom."
Craig Borowiak, Associate Professor and Chair, Political Science, Haverford College
"Food Co-op not only highlights a successful cooperative venture, but also addresses the urgent need for access to food in urban markets...The film does a great job of showing the value of cooperation by way of example...There are shining moments in this film that teach us that cooperation can be a balancing force when the market fails to provide what consumers need."
Dr. John Park, Roy B. Davis Professor of Agricultural Cooperation, Texas A and M University
"An amusing and enlightening food exposé...Capture[s] the essence of this unique emporium with a blend of humor and pragmatism, underlining how a sustainable business needs to have more in mind than just the bottom line in order to survive."
Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter
"This detailed examination of the Park Slope Food Co-op explores both the benefits and challenges associated with providing affordable high quality foods in urban neighborhoods...Particular attention is focused on the importance of the unpaid labor provided by the diverse membership that is a requirement for membership. The in-depth treatment of this unique cooperative venture will allow interested viewers to garner sufficient information to organize similar efforts that can address the problem of food deserts confronting many communities."
James Stewart, Professor Emeritus, Labor and Employment Relations, African and African American Studies, Management and Organization, Pennsylvania State University
"This film provides a very interesting behind the scenes look at a food cooperative...Help[s] students see the personal side of the cooperative story."
Phil Kenkel, Professor and Chair, Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University
"A truly thrilling film."
Céline Zug, Boite à Culture
"Food Co-op tells the story of Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn-a 44-year-old, highly successful food co-op...The film shows viewers the whole gamut of store operations - from committees, to stocking, to produce and dairy buying, to walking customers to the subway...This film is a fascinating study of how a community has organized itself to collectively govern and manage a very complex social enterprise."
Steve Dubb, Senior Editor, Nonprofit Quarterly
"A rare, candid look into the life of Park Slope Food Co-op, and the lives of the co-op's members. The film provides a glimpse into the methods and culture employed in this exceptionally successful co-op. An intriguing resource for instructors or organizers looking to explore the nuances of collective entrepreneurship through a real-world example that has been sustained at scale for several decades."
Tom Pierson, Co-op Educator
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* Joe Holtz Interview (co-founder of the coop) [6:13]
* Tom Boothe Interview (director of the film) [6:55]
* Kosher Committee [4:30]
* Conviviality Committee [2:53]
Language Options: English, Spanish, Italian
Scene selection and SDH captions in English for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Awards and Festivals
Greenpeace Film Festival
Environmental Film Festival Australia
Marda Loop Justice Film Festival
Pelicam Film Festival
Food And Nutrition
Labor and Work Issues
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"A curious and benevolent stroll through...this unique store."
Jérémy Gallet, AVoir ALire
"A healthy place...Exceptional...Enthusiastic."