An old barn that was razed on South Salina Street on Syracuse’s Southside is now the address of the Eat to Live Food Cooperative. The décor of the store is just as colorful as the produce on the shelves. It's a dream come true for The Southside Community Coalition and Syracuse University's South Side Initiative Office. Organizers feel it will make shopping for healthy foods more accessible in the neighborhood. President Shirley Rowser says customers will also become more informed about their own food choices.
“Even though we're going to offer some things you can get from another store but, we're also going to provide nutritional value type education. So, you can understand that maybe you can drink a soda but, maybe not as many or quite as much. Sip smarter; that's one of the concepts we use at one of my other projects we work on. It's telling them, you know, you have that much sugar in there. So, perhaps if you cut back and that sort of thing. So, we're still going to provide them with the education to make sure they understand know how to drink and eat smarter.”
Local resident Anthony Jackson is within walking distance to the store and hopes the new co-op will be transformative for community pride.
“(This is) a very nice looking establishment and I think it's going to be very beneficial. I just hope that it'll stay this way. As far as the community is concerned, respect for the atmosphere and for eating healthy and stuff. I hope people will come come by and decide to eat healthy.”
The idea behind the co-op also allows people the option to join as a consumer-owned member, allowing them to vote on policy matters at monthly meetings. If the store performs well at years end, members could receive some money back after expenses are covered. The Eat to Live Cooperative received state grant money through the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council and the CNY Community, Gifford and Allyn Foundations. The co-op also received support from Syracuse University's School of Architecture, the College of Law, the Whitman School of Management and the iSchool and Chancellor Nancy Cantor. The store is located at 2323 South Salina Street. Business hours are weekdays from 8 AM to 7 PM and 9 AM to 6 PM on Sundays.