Northside Food Co-Op appoints new leader

Plans move forward for food co-op in Northside neighborhood
Plans move forward for food co-op in Northside neighborhood
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 12:12 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A new leader has been appointed to the Northside Food Co-Op Board as the project gains momentum toward its goal of providing healthy food options to Wilmington’s Northside community.

According to a news release, since previous leader Evan Folds stepped down, Cierra Washington has been appointed as Project Manager to drive a community engagement plan to promote the store.

The site at 10th and Fanning streets is being funded and developed by New Hanover County, with assistance from the City of Wilmington, and the Food Co-Op will operate the store.

The Co-Op kicked off in 2018 by inviting community members to invest $100 to buy shares in the venture and give “owners” a voice in how the store is operated. In response to the plea to address the lack of grocery store in an area known to be a food desert for decades, more than 500 people committed to the project and in return, these “owners” will benefit from special offers.

In 2020, Folds assumed leadership of the Co-Op to rally community support and keep the project moving forward.

“I’m thankful for all the late night and early mornings of hard work that Evan has put into the Northside Food Coop up to this point,” said Chair of the Co-Op Board Cedric Harrison. “We found Evan and brought him onto the team during a time where if we had not done that we might not be where we currently are.”

The Co-Op tested the grocery concept in the area by opening “Frankie’s Market”, a farmer’s market at 11th and Princess streets, in 2021. Once proven to be successful, the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County came on board to help convert a city-owned plot.

“Thanks to the County and the City for their partnership and financial commitment,” said Harrison. “We can now move forward to the next level. I’m very excited as we bring Cierra Washington into our new leadership role.”

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