Working at the Cambridge Co-op takes me away from my studio and the farm for 3 3/4 hours once a month. For it, I get a 12% discount when I shop there. But it also connects me to the people who work and shop there. I always work on Thursdays because the weekly order comes in and I get to pack out the boxes of food.
Today, when I got to the Co-op at Ipm, the truck still hadn’t arrived.
Five of us wandered aimlessly looking for ways to fill our time knowing we didn’t want to start anything big that couldn’t be interrupted by the delivery. Then it was there, the long truck parked on the road behind the building. Soon the delivery guy (I don’t know his name) was wheeling boxes of groceries and bags of bulk food up the ramp and into the store.
Suddenly we were all too busy to even talk. The only conversation were questions about the delivery. Customers had to ring the bell beside the register to get the attention of Katie or Rachel, who were running the register.
We started with the frozen and perishable foods and worked quickly and efficiently to keep the aisles clear of boxes.
Like most groceries, the Cambridge Co-op has had a hard time keeping its shelves filled. But they had flour and toilet paper since 2020 when most other stores didn’t. And they kept their doors open, doing everything they could to keep employees and customers safe.
Jon and I shop there several times a week. Especially now that we’re buying bulk grains and lots of fresh vegetables since we’ve altered our eating habits.
Working at the Co-op once a month gets me out of the studio where I work alone and reminds me of what it’s like to work with other people. It helps me keep one foot (or a few toes) in the physical world outside the farm.
As I drove up to the farm on my way home, I saw the donkeys at the feeder and knew that Jon had fed the animals. He also brought in wood and kept the fires going, some of the things I usually do.
There’s so much ice on the ground a part of me wished he would have let me do it all. Another part of me was glad to be able to come home and have a cup of tea in front of the fire before dinner.