Asheville, NC, March 4, 2014– French Broad Food Co-op, Asheville’s only nonprofit and community-owned grocery store announces it is now Living Wage Certified. The Co-op opened in 1975 and has faced a myriad of challenges as big box competitors moved to town.The Co-op has remained true to its values and watched as one after another, once local stores like EarthFare and Greenlife sold to investors that take money directly out of Asheville. In recent years the Co-op has rallied to bigger and better than ever before. In 2013 the Co-op became the largest sponsor of the LEAF Schools and Streets program, helping empower youth through the arts. They also teamed up with Green Opportunities (Go!) to help provide local job training. In February they launched a new hot bar, filled with the fares of local restaurants. On April 19th they will host the 2nd Annual Urban Homestead Event, a free and public event that educates the community on everything from beekeeping, growing hops, fermentation, and permaculture. Living Wages was an obvious next step.
CFO since 2009, Sage Turner says: “Livable wages and profits are not mutually exclusive and are part of a larger effort to end poverty and create a more sustainable economy. One of our strongest assets is our team of dedicated individuals. Paying living wages leads to increased morale, better housing opportunities, and access to healthcare. They reduce costs of turnover and training and the impact is seen immediately. When community-dedicated folks earn more money, local businesses feel the impact of their spending. Living wages exemplify our Cooperative Principles. Our community has stood behind us throughout the years, and we will always stand behind them.”
Justina Prenatt, president of the Co-Op’s board of directors, states: “Becoming living wage certified is one facet of FBFC fulfilling our mission, which is to serve the community with vibrant connections for healthy, local foods and Earth conscious practices, to build the local economy and provide our best support to staff, owners, and the people of Asheville.”
Just Economics Certification Coordinator Mark Hebbard says: “Living wages at French Broad Food Co-op did not happen overnight; they made the commitment to their employees and our community by incorporating Living Wages into their business plan last year and made the necessary changes in order to make it happen. This should put to rest the question of where Asheville should be grocery shopping; you should support those businesses that are taking strides to make this a better community. French Broad Food Coop deserves the support of this community; vote with your dollars by supporting those local businesses that share your vision and ideals.
For details, contact Sage Turner at 828.255.7650 or at Accounting@frenchbroadfood.coop.