Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

A Reflection on Neighbor Day at the Co-op

On Sunday September 8, we hosted our Annual Neighbor Day celebration at the Durham Co-op! This year was by far our biggest Neighbor Day event, and we had a blast with all of our neighbors, partners, owners and friends. Here’s a reflection written by one of our community partners – Whitney Sewell of Farmer Foodshare.

There’s a fine art to being a good neighbor. We know from the PBS special, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood (if you haven’t seen the documentary, get your tissues out, Tina, and get ready for some real water works) that being a good neighbor is some combination of opening the door to everyone, being kind, and actively caring. Sound a bit much? You could just go to the co-op for your groceries. It says right above the front door “Everyone Welcome.” And they mean it!

As a newbie to the area, the co-op is my home away from home. It’s where I go to meet my neighbors but to also be a good neighbor by putting my money where my mouth is, literally, at least a couple of times a week. In this world, if you want something to exist, you’ve got to vote for its existence with your dollars. Care about farmers? Then buy local. Care about your neighbors? Then buy local at the co-op. 

Being kind to your neighbor means making sure they have the same access to healthy food that you do. During the day, I double as your friendly local produce distributor at the Durham-based nonprofit, Farmer Foodshare. We connect people who grow food with people who need it: food access and farmer love all day every day. We send trucks of fresh, local produce straight from North Carolina family farms to DCM several times a week. If you came to the Neighbor Day celebration, you likely saw me exhibiting my finest dance moves while convincing folks to try a plethora of local apples in the newly landscaped courtyard. 

Neighbor day drew all kinds of different people, different ages and backgrounds and likes and dislikes, but one thing brought us all together: FOOD! The Durham Co-op is a special place where everyone can come and connect with each other and find that common ground. Whether your favorite apple is honeycrisp, fuji, or apple chips, if you’re getting it from the co-op it’s likely local, and definitely supports your neighbors. So, hey, as Mr. Rogers says, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Come dance with me at the co-op on Thursday night $3 dinners, volunteer to get fresh food to folks who need it with Farmer Foodshare, or at the least, just get your groceries from a local source that supports family farmers and neighbors alike, the Durham Co-op Market.

  • Whitney Sewell, Co-op Member/Owner, Farmer Foodshare Manager