As a former Park Slope resident and one who briefly considered joining the Park Slope Food Co-op before reviewing their massive sign-on series of hoops to jump through and hearing that there was more drama than on a twelve-year-old’s LiveJournal, it’s pretty amusing said drama has become prominent outside the community after a proposed ban on Israeli goods within the organization.
In Park Slope, either you’re a member of the food co-op, prancing around the neighborhood smugly in brightly colored vests going about your co-op related duties, or you’re vaguely scared of it and its kinda culty vibe. I think my then-husband and I attended a single introductory tour of the facility and were vaguely flummoxed by what seemed to be a rather complicated system of participation and the smell of ‘natural’ deodorant and tabbouleh permeating our clothing when we left.
The Park Slope Food Co-op has been mocked on a national stage in the past, making an appearance on the now-cancelled HBO Brooklyn-hipster sitcom Bored to Death, but last night The Daily Show spoke to members about a proposed boycott of Israeli products. As with many things at the Park Slope Food Co-op, the decision was not made without a lot of meetings, hand-wringing and referendum votes, but last night the members gathered in massive numbers to make a final decision on whether to implement a ban on Israeli goods due to some members’ political leanings.
Members of the Park Slope Food Co-op voted overwhelmingly in favor of rejecting the ban and continuing to carry Israeli items, in a stunningly large 1,005-653 vote. Park Slope Food Co-op member and boycott supporter Liz Roberts told the New York Times that even though the proposal was a defeat, attention was drawn to the issue:
“The vote tonight has shown us that we still have a lot of work ahead in the fight to end Israeli oppression of Palestinians… However, despite our loss in tonight’s vote, we have succeeded in one of our goals: B.D.S. has entered into the consciousness of thousands of co-op members and has even made it into mainstream conversations.”
As the Park Slope Food Co-op’s drama raged on last night at Brooklyn Technical High School, hundreds of non-co-op-participating Brooklynites across the borough placed orders with FreshDirect and spent the rest of their evening drinking Brooklyn Lager and watching DVRed Walking Dead episodes.