Barre Group Plans To Open Food Co-operative Downtown

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A group in Barre is trying to organize a downtown food co-op. Representatives of Granite City Grocery are rolling out a membership drive this week to sign up 600 founding members by next spring in an effort to help revitalize Barre’s downtown.

It’s not the first attempt in Barre to close the gap between the people who produce food and the public that consumes it. Ariel Zevon’s business called Local Agriculture Community Exchange, or LACE, tried to make it easier for people in Barre to buy food by farmers in the region.

Zevon opened a store in a vacant downtown storefront and covered costs largely through funds raised at her godfather Jackson Browne’s sold-out $75-a-ticket benefit concerts at the Barre Opera House.

In 2007, Zevon opened the Farm Fresh Cafe and Market. But after four years in business, she announced that she was selling her property because LACE was facing financial and staffing issues.

Now, Granite City Grocery has been awarded grant funding to conduct a market study in Barre, which will look at prospective locations, including the planned City Place office building. The co-op is hosting a harvest dinner at the Labor Hall on Friday, October 19th, and it’ll hold a series of public listening forums over the next few months.

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