A food 'co-op' where I volunteered a few times just put out a desperate plea via email. Apparently they're twelve grand in the hole, a bad hole. They have suspended all volunteer activity, and they've been forced to close their doors a few days out of the week.
I feel bad for them, but it made me think of the nature of the place.
The food they sold was very expensive. It was great food, but, it was not a place where poor people would go to get hooked up. I worked with really nice people there, but I felt kind of old. It was mostly college age hippie girls, and there was one 'alpha hippie' college dude who ran the store up front. He kept making me me sweep and mop the floor of the store, even when it wasn't really dirty. I got paranoid, and I started to think he was trying to gently push me out by giving me the crappy assignments all the time. The place seemed to be more about style than heart. The customers were folks in BMWs and Mercedes SUVs and all.
I don't know much about the farmers they got their food from. Maybe those guys and girls were seriously in a pinch and a hustle to get by and do something noble. 'Buy local' and 'farm local' and avoiding the 'thousand mile salad' are truly issues worth putting effort into, in my opinion. I didn't get the feeling that I was helping out anybody who really needed any help at this food co-op place...not like this other place where I volunteered one time, Second Harvest.
There was big money involved in Second Harvest too, but they were the donors. The food ended up going to people who really really needed it. I want to go back there and volunteer some more when work calms down a little.