Food cooperative, Boonsboro church form partnership

October 15, 2012|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Church at the Crossroads near Boonsboro is partnering with Valley Co-op
Church at the Crossroads near Boonsboro is partnering with Valley Co-op

A Washington County food cooperative and a church near Boonsboro have formed a partnership to help each other grow.

George Snyder, pastor of the Church at the Crossroads, said his congregation recently opened its doors to the Valley Co-op to give the blossoming organization more room to store and distribute food.

“From what I’ve heard, they’ve grown in leaps and bounds,” Snyder said. “The co-op is a good way to advertise the church. It’s a good partnership. It doesn’t put us out and it gives them a better place.”

Co-op volunteer Susan Simonson said the group has grown from six members in 2010 to 150 members today. The small farm where they used to meet near Boonsboro quickly became too small, prompting them to find a bigger home.

“Without their generosity, we wouldn’t have been able to grow and prosper as a co-op,” she said. “Our biggest benefit is to get word out to the community that the church is there.”

Snyder said the co-op primarily uses the church near the intersection of Md. 66 and U.S. 40 as a storage and pick-up site.
One room in the church is a storage area with three refrigerators for dairy and meat. The room also has a number of shelves to store items such as beans, flour and syrup.

Simonson said the co-op orders its food from local farmers to ensure freshness.

Grass-fed beef, for example, is supplied by Back Creek Bend farm in Hedgesville, W.Va., and the co-op gets its free-range eggs from Cool Brook Farm near Hagerstown.

She said members are charged a 10 percent mark up so the co-op can cover its operating costs.

Snyder said that instead of paying rent, the co-op landscapes a portion of the church grounds.

“They do it without being asked,” he said. “They’re good people.”

He said the co-op has created quite a bit of exposure for the church since the partnership started about six months ago.

About 70 people attend church services on Sunday mornings, Snyder said. Greenbrier also hosts a date night from 6:30 to 9 p.m. During the event, church members baby-sit children so their parents can go on dates.

Snyder said the church is Southern Baptist by denomination, but people of all faiths are welcome to attend.

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