by Jillian Keller
While the Soltane Store in downtown Phoenixville has recently gotten quite a bit of attention, Camphill Soltane’s on-campus store in Glenmoore “has been around for as long as I’ve been here,” says Job Placement Coordinator Jim Colbert.
At that time in 2001, a crew shopped for groceries for each house on campus. Over the years, many households began buying their own supplies from specialty stores and farms that offered healthier whole foods and organically-grown vegetables. In other words, Jim says, "People became pickier eaters." To respond to the demand for these items, the on-campus community store began to stock an assortment of organic goods and manage a large organic CSA share on behalf of the community.
Each new store manager introduces innovations. In the last year, former coworker Sana Hirata implemented technology to expedite in-store ordering and billing, reduced waste by introducing bulk food dispensers for items like walnuts, quinoa, and popcorn, and implemented a weekly distribution of food boxes containing local and organic fruits, vegetables, dairy and bulk items to each house on campus.
New store managers, Cate Clother and Sabine Otto, are upholding the emphasis on locally-produced items. This winter, the store will be purchasing a cow share from Why Not Farm, a family-run business right here in Glenmoore.
There are many reasons to love the on-campus community store. By purchasing high-quality foods as a community, the store can charge less than the retail price for many products, helping us conserve resources. Likewise, this model reduces trips to the grocery store, and eliminates the need for plastic bags and other waste associated with any shopping trip. More importantly, the on-campus store provides an educational experience for students and residents to learn many aspects of running a store. This enterprise also offers us a moment to come together as a community to discuss what to do with all those extra green beans!