Co-op Grocery Store Transforms Community

Source: Presbyterian Mission

A new Co-op grocery story is working to transform a food desert in Flint, Michigan. The North Flint Food Market, currently under construction, once opened will offer local residents an opportunity to access fresh fruit and vegetables without having to travel miles away.

The new $7 million market with ties to the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People is about giving residents “something to truly call their own.”

Construction of the $7 million North Flint Food Market is underway on Clio Road, where a former church is being transformed. It will have fresh produce, deli and meat counters, health-and-wellness services and more.

Individuals can become member owners by paying $250, which will grant them voting rights on store operations and the rights to decide how proceeds might be reinvested to subsidize food cost or fund other neighborhood projects.

Founder and chief executive officer of the North Flint Reinvestment Corporation, Rev. Reginald Flynn said, “The business model is a food cooperative and so the people who invest in it actually own it, and that’s significant because we’re not seeing that, particularly in urban communities predominantly populated by Blacks and Latinos.”

“One of the reasons why we established the food co-op is because it will provide us the opportunity to have greater control over our destiny as it relates to food sovereignty but also our economics.”

Flint, Michigan rose to national prominence in the United States following the Flint Water Crisis of 2017. Since then community organizations and outside partners have been working to provide resources to a community devastated by years of government maladministration resulting in the lead poisoning of thousands of residents tainted by lead in their water.

The emphasis on healthier lifestyles and dieting is part of a recent move by community members to reclaim their health.

“A healthier diet mitigates the devastating impact of lead,” Flynn said. “That’s one of the major reasons why we needed to continue pursuing this co-op project.”

The longtime pastor of Foss Avenue Baptist Church, Flynn is committed to bringing the project to fruition despite whatever obstacles may lie ahead. The pandemic caused temporary delays but the group is continuing to push forward and hopes to open for operation in the Fall of 2022.

Source: Presbyterian Mission