Community Consciousness and Conscience

May/June Edition
By: Ryan Reed Campbell, Outreach Coordinator | 2017-05-24

A huge part of being a cooperative means reaching out and having a presence in your local community. It also means giving back to the community that has created our wonderful Co-op, and educating them about why healthy eating, organic living, and being environmentally-friendly are so important.

The Whole Foods Co-op makes charitable donations to various organizations that work to help the Erie community. So far this May, the Co-op has donated to 5 organizations:

  • We donated organic seeds to Erie’s Certified Domestic Violence Agency, SafeNet. They will use the seeds for their hands-on organic gardening program that teaches their clients and children about cultivating, nourishing, bonding with, and harvesting their own food while beautifying and connecting the community.
  • We put aside a couple boxes of Nature’s Way Sambucus Zinc Lozenges for the ARC of Erie County. They will be distributing them to runners at their 5K on August 19th. The ARC of Erie County provides support and advocacy for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as for research and legislation in the same areas.
  • We donated a gift card to Erie Homes for Children and Adults, a non-profit agency that provides assistance to those in the community with disabilities so they may live rich and fulfilling lives. They will be giving it away as a door prize at the event.
  • We also donated a gift card for a fundraising event to help Gannon University’s Theatre Troupe travel to Scotland for the Intercollegiate Theatre Festival. The Whole Foods Co-op is a proud advocate for all forms of art and culture in the community, and we hope our contribution will help provide local college students with the new and exciting experience of traveling to Edinburgh.
  • And lastly, we donated gift cards to WQLN for their Great Television Auction, which will air each night from June 2 to June 4, 6pm to 11pm on local station 54.1 and streaming live on their website. WQLN is Erie’s local public media station, providing educational programming for children and adults, and the Whole Foods Co-op stands behind their mission wholeheartedly.

For the month of June, the Whole Foods Co-op plans to reach out to the community in many different ways. It is going to be a busy month, but we are excited to get out into the community and show them that we are here for Erie.

On June 2, you’ll find the Whole Foods Co-op at Springhill Senior Living Community for their annual health fair. The Whole Foods Co-op has always been dedicated to educating and connecting with the elderly community. When Springhill invited us to join their health fair, how could we say no? You’re never too old to improve your diet and awareness of environmental issues. Especially for a young guy like me, I end up learning new things from senior citizens who have years of life experience to speak from. That’s what we mean about “connecting”; the education road goes both ways, always.

June 11 at Frontier Park is the second annual Tofurky Trot. This vegan 5K was a hit last year and we decided to be part of this community event featuring plant-based eating. The Whole Foods Co-op will have a table set up with information about the store and we will be selling Harvest Bay Coconut Water and four different kinds of Larabars for $1 a piece. Both are gluten-free and vegan.

From June 12 through the 18th, the Whole Foods Co-op will have an informational table set up at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center for the National Pollinator Week Celebration. This is a celebration of bees and how they continue to make the magic happen that allows us to enjoy everything from strawberries to coffee. It is especially important this year as many species of bees are in decline and the cause of colony collapse disorder has still not been proven. In addition to this, I will be delivering a presentation on organic farming and gardening as well at the TREC on June 14 at 3pm. I will be talking specifically about why organic farming and gardening is so important to the bees and our environment.

Lastly (for the month of June, anyway), the Whole Foods Co-op will take a trip to Penn State Behrend’s Early Learning Center to dish out some healthy snacks to the preschool-aged children. It is never too early to start healthy eating habits, and the Co-op is committed to making sure the next generation has access to the best nutrition available.

Also, the Whole Foods Co-op provides our Community Room for teachers to teach various classes that are open to the public. Many of them are even free to attend with no registration necessary. Our current schedule of classes can be found on our website at:

Keep in mind, everything I just mentioned is only for May and June. There are many more exciting things coming for July and August. Stayed tuned!

The Whole Foods Co-op is constantly searching for new ways to be involved in the community and to teach Erie County residents about the aforementioned issues. If you have an event you think the Whole Foods Co-op would fit into, feel free to contact me. I am only in the office Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:30am to 4:30pm, but I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can. My e-mail address is or you can reach me by phone at 814-456-0282 ext. 111