Eat to Live Food Co-Op is Bringing Healthy Back

New building set to open later this month

It has been six years in the making, but the Eat to Live Food Co-Op has finally scheduled its highly anticipated opening for late September.  The co-op will be located at 2323 South Salina St. and is projected to be open and operating six days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays with its Grand Opening scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15.

Shirley Rowser, board president for the Eat to Live Co-op, said the co-op’s main mission is to give the community the option to buy healthy foods for a reasonable price and to educate residents on how to effectively eat healthy.

Linda Littlejohn, associate vice president of Syracuse University's South Side Initiative, SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Mayor Stephanie A. Miner along with other New York state officials at the ground breaking ceremony for the Eat to Live Food Co-Op held May 4, 2012. | Photo by Amanda Marzullo.

“People in the area don’t have the access to fresh foods and produce that they need,” Rowser said. “By creating the co-op, we are hoping that it will be easier for Syracuse residents to develop a healthier lifestyle for them and their families.”

What sets a food co-op apart from a normal grocery store is that the co-op is not controlled by outside shareholders.  The decisions regarding the co-op will be made by its members, and therefore residents will be able to directly influence the co-op.

To become a member of the co-op, one can either pay $100 up front, or use a payment plan and pay $10 a month. Rowser said what makes Eat to Live different is that once the co-op’s bills have been paid, the excess money will be returned to its members.

Once a member, one has access to discount prices, manager prices, cooking classes and the ability to vote on issues regarding the co-op.

“One of our most important initiatives is to offer healthier eating education,” said Jim Diamond, general manager of the co-op.  “I have a lot of connections with local chefs in the Syracuse area, all of which want to be involved in what we’re doing and have offered to come down and put on short 25-minute seminars on how to eat healthy, how eating healthy can be delicious, how it can be affordable and how it can be better for your family rather than fast food and eating out.”

Diamond also said that on top of cooking classes, the co-op will offer gardening demonstrations.

“Whether it be classes on window-sill gardening for herbs or creating back yard gardens for vegetables, we’re going to be offering assistance, guidance and education for it all,” Diamond said.

Eat to Live plans to stay as local as possible buying from Syracuse vendors and farmers. It will also reach out to local schools to educate young children on healthy eating. Bellevue Elementary School has already volunteered to grow fruits and vegetables for the co-op, as have many other schools in the surrounding area.

The co-op has hired and started training its eight-person staff for opening. Alongside the fresh produce, there will also be a café that will open with store hours and offer a healthy variety of muffins and coffee.

“The public response has already been amazing,” Rowser said. “We are going to have a big opening event and hopefully residents in the area will respond favorably to the variety of food that we have, the freshness of the food that we have and the customer service that we offer.”

 

Download a membership application to the Eat to Live Food Co-Op Here

 

Before & After

 

The former empty lot to the left of the South Side Communication Center has now been transformed into the new Food Co-op with an adjoining parking lot.