Copy of About the Co-Op

Our Mission & Vision

Phoenix Food Co-op will be a community-owned cooperative grocer that provides healthy, locally-produced, and accessible food, while also working to create a community space for all people to gather.

We’re a dedicated group of neighbors passionate about building a stronger connection to the food we eat and fostering kinship in our community. Our mission is to bring a food co-op to Phoenix. We aim to make the co-op as inclusive, accessible, and uplifting as we can. 

Our Board

Ian O'Grady

Ian has been with the Co-op since the project started. Over the past two years, he has been working to advance the project and make the vision of a cooperative grocery store in Phoenix a reality. With his background implementing climate action policies for the City of Phoenix, facilitating inclusive community investments in affordable housing and covid recovery, and embeddedness within the community, he has helped establish the Co-op as a viable avenue for strengthening our food system by sourcing from local farmers, expanding food access, and, ultimately, opening a brick-and-mortar store. He deeply values the community the Co-op has already built and believes in the Co-op’s future as a gathering space and resource for Phoenix’s rich diversity of residents. 

Gabe Gardner


Gabe is a Chef and Director of Food Programs with Local First Arizona. He has been actively involved and invested in the Co-op sharing his extensive food experience and entrepreneurial background to get the Co-op started. His daily work in the local Arizona food system has given him a background and knowledge to help guide the co-op towards decisions and processes that are in the best interest of all stakeholders and will result in a strong Co-op.

Darren Chapman


Darren has worked with food entrepreneurs and in the field of food security in low income BIPOC communities for 30+ years. He has been a leader in gardening, farming, and agri-landscaping efforts with TigerMountain Foundation and Spaces of Opportunity and looks forward to serving on the board and making the Co-op a reality.

Dionne Washington


Dionne has served as the co-founder of Project Roots AZ and has done incredible work serving and feeding community. She has dedicated substantial time to the Co-op through its early founding. She has participated in visioning sessions, helped facilitate community meetings, and grow the Co-op's knowledge of the food system and its opportunity to make an impact. Her unique perspective from both the grower and the community side, especially her work in South Phoenix, brings substantial contributions to the Co-op's founding board. 

Ashley Hoekstra


Ashley is a small business owner in the historic Grand Ave neighborhood near the proposed Phoenix Food Co-op. She is active in the neighborhood maintaining a responsible and kind presence in the downtown Phoenix neighborhood groups and committee meetings. As a member of the board she hopes to continue helping the downtown area grow in a healthy direction. She has a long-standing desire to see a coop exist once again in the valley.

Huda Khalife


Huda is a co-director at Thrive Consultancy. In her capacity at Thrive, she has had the opportunity to serve the Phoenix community through sustainable cooperative food business training programs as well as ecosystem development workshops. She has also provided consulting services for sustainability and cooperative business incorporation in this role. Huda is very excited to be able to work alongside everyone at the Phoenix Food Coop as we take the first steps forward navigating and building out the cooperative business space. 

Aaron Kane


Aaron currently serves as the Policy Director for Phoenix City Council District 7, focusing on sustainability, responsible urban development, and public transportation issues. While his professional background is in climate advocacy and political organizing in Arizona, his upbringing was in rural Pennsylvania helping his grandparents on their farm and giving away excess produce on the side of the road. District 7 has some of the biggest food deserts in Phoenix and he looks forward to helping the co-op fill gaps with sustainable, local, healthy foods.

Steven Francone


Steven Francone is cofounder and Finance Director of Good Market, a curated community platform and marketplace commons for social enterprises, cooperatives, responsible businesses, civic organizations, and change-makers. Steven has experience in planning, designing, opening, and operating organic and natural grocery stores. With those outlets, he designed and implemented the internal controls and operational systems to be inclusive and transparent. For the past 20 years, Steven has been providing consulting services and helping social enterprises develop financial management systems.

Brooke Lipsitz


Brooke currently works at ASU and has recent working experience in the AZ nonprofit sector. While at Wildfire, Brooke administered funding and grants to organizations state-wide. Her relevant grant experience includes USDA’s FNS SNAP-Outreach program, CARES Act COVID-19 Relief Fund distribution, and the American Rescue Plan’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, including working in collaboration with the City of Phoenix. Brooke was a regular participant in Arizona’s Food System’s network, partnering with other state agencies to find sustainable solutions to food insecurity, distribution, and infrastructure. Brooke is excited to share her skills to support the mission of the Phoenix Food Co-op.

Our Progress So Far

For a summary of our work so far, check out this overview from our October 2021 board meeting.

Also take a look out this December 2020 Arizona Republic feature of the Co-op and our work a year into the project as we navigated our early stages.

What is a co-op?

Cooperatives are people-centered enterprises owned, controlled, and run by and for their members to realize their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations. -International Co-operative Alliance

Unlike corporate chains, food co-ops are totally independent and owned by the community members who shop there. So instead of focusing on investors, food co-ops focus on their community.

Most co-ops (including us!) follow these seven principles:
1. Voluntary and open membership
2. Democratic member control
3. Member economic participation
4. Autonomy and independence
5. Education, training, and information
6. Cooperation among cooperatives
7. Concern for community

Learn more about cooperatives here.

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