Where Our Paths Meet

Conservation // January 22, 2020

By Bettina de Caumette, Weavers Way Co-op

As the Outreach Coordinator for Weavers Way Co-op for the past seven years, I am always meeting new residents of the communities we serve. All of these neighborhoods share a close connection to the extraordinary natural landscapes of the Wissahickon Valley. Easy access to miles of trails and woodlands is often an important reason people move to this area. This large expanse of natural area in the midst of densely populated urban communities is a rare asset that brings opportunities for healthy recreation, but also for expressing civic responsibility and for inspiring environmental awareness.

Responsibility is a core concept at the Co-op, where our democratic governing structure dictates a commitment to a triple bottom line: People, profit, and (last, but certainly not least) planet. We aspire to offer all of the services associated with being a community-owned grocery store while exercising social, financial, and environmental responsibility in everything we do. It isn’t always easy. Luckily, we have our Ends (or long-term goals) cooperative model to guide us, as well as the oversight of our board of directors. But, ultimately, to be successful in our endeavors, key community partnerships are critical.

Surely it is a testament to the character of our community to have a resource like Friends of the Wissahickon in our midst, leading residents for the past 95 years on the path of environmental stewardship. Of the Co-op’s seven Ends (see weaversway.coop/pages/weavers-way-ends), the sixth states, “The local environment will be protected and restored.” Therefore, joining forces with FOW to deepen the breadth of our collective appreciation and sense of responsibility to the local environment clearly promises to promote a substantial common good.

The Co-op, via our optional working member program, has long offered working member credits for volunteering for FOW on service days and for special projects. In recent years, we’ve sought to increase the energy and impact of our collaborations. In 2019, we offered a series of specially conceived introductory new member hikes, bringing together dozens of members, new to both FOW and Weavers Way, to explore our woodlands together and share in the missions and concerns that align our organizations.

By granting Weavers Way working member credit to participants, and promoting shared events, we believe we are helping to fuel an informed and engaged populace that recognizes the value of public access to nature, grasps the responsibility of public ownership, and takes the notion of environmental stewardship seriously.

In 2020, we hope to take our collaborations further. Look for more new member hikes, more well-defined Weavers Way working member opportunities in service to FOW, and close creative partnering on select events. We’re excited to unveil new, innovative, and impactful ways over the course of the new year to work productively with FOW and propel informed action in the sensitive care and preservation of our shared, natural environment. Stay tuned, keep reading our newsletters, and feel free to contact the Weavers Way Membership Department at any time, to ask questions or get involved in joint events through the Co-op. As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions at outreach@weaversway.coop or 215-843-2350 x118.

Bettina de Caumette is Outreach Coordinator at Weavers Way Co-op.