At 4th Street Food Co-Op, No Tempest in the Teapots

Last night, members of the Park Slope Food Co-Op voted against a controversial motion that would have banned Israeli foods at the 16,300-member grocery store, as our colleagues over at The Local Fort Greene reported.

Here in the East Village, members of the 4th Street Food Co-Op (no relation) told The Local they hadn’t given much thought to the Brooklyn brouhaha. That’s not to say the Co-Op – which consists of 60 unpaid members who each put in around two hours per week in exchange for a 20 percent discount at the store – hasn’t had its tense moments.

“The most controversial proposal I can recall,” said Jill Woodward, who has been a member of the Co-Op for three years, “was a move to ban the sale of bottled water, which passed.”

Dan Biren, a member of 13 years, said he disagreed with the decision last year to stop carrying bottled water due to concerns about waste and lack of regulation. On the other hand, he was recently able to convince fellow members that the store should participate in Con Ed’s wind power program.

Another member acknowledged that things sometimes get contentious on the Co-Op’s listserv, but Ms. Woodward said that decisions aren’t usually divisive enough to require a vote. “We enjoy talking to each other, exchanging recipes, talking about bands,” she said. “You get a lot of health-oriented and food-oriented tips.”

Though it hasn’t waded into the Israel-Palestine waters, the 4th Street Co-Op does have its pet issues: A sign by the cash register invites shoppers to donate to Occupy Wall Street. One Co-Op member is also a member of Occupy’s kitchen crew, and the store has donated food and cooked for Occupy in the past.

For more on the 4th Street Co-Op, watch The Local’s video above.