‘Transformative’: New Dorchester Food Co-op aims to help residents eat healthier

BOSTON — Access to fresh food is a persistent problem in many urban communities.

Many of those neighborhoods are considered “Food Deserts,” meaning residents are unable to buy quality foods that might be organic or fresh.

The Dorchester Food Co-op opened on Bowdoin Street this year to give residents a way to access healthier options.

John Santos, general manager and CEO of the co-op, is proud to show off the wide variety of produce the market now offers.

“Our sales are growing so we’re excited to see that,” Santos said.

The co-op opened this past fall.

Members can buy shares in the market for $100 and have a voice in how the facility operates. As partial owners, they also receive a 5% discount on their purchases.

When Boston 25 News previewed the opening of the market last summer, about 1,600 households had already joined, including Boston Mayor Michele Wu.

Today, that number has jumped to 2,000.

It’s important to note that anyone can shop at the co-op; they just won’t get the discount.

“I feel like our community deserves this”, said Keisha O’Neal, who lives in the neighborhood and is now the customer service manager.

“We’re trying to break generational curses,” added O’Neal. “Let’s teach our kids different ways, so all those things that we’ve inherited they don’t have to inherit anymore -- high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol. This will change it for us.”

Santos added, “It’s great to be able to share something simple in many people’s lives but can be transformative and expanding and get people excited about food.”

Some products are more expensive than what are on the shelves at traditional grocery stores, but Santos believes shoppers can save money by buying many items in bulk.

The Dorchester Food Co-op is now accepting SNAP benefits.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW