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  • Writer's pictureMartha Williams

Anabel’s Grocery

When | Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

Mission | To provide fresh, affordable food to all Cornell students to create a more just, sustainable food system.

My Committees | Purchasing, Sales, and Promotion; Public Relations, Education, and Collaboration

My Roles | Co-facilitator, team member, website designer

Highlights | Community building; Social enterprise management; Passion finding

My Story | Inspired by a focus group they held my junior year, I joined Anabel’s Grocery (AG) the fall semester of my senior year through the class as it was the only way to join the organization. I had parted ways from Cornell Environmental Collaborative (ECO) after three years planning and coordinating to find a better suited niche and to explore a nascent passion in food systems. Although I can think of many beautiful stories about my AG experience, I want to tell you about one particular experience that stands out from the rest.

As a part of the class, I was randomly placed in a group of three other female students whom I had never before met to answer a series of reflective questions every week for several weeks. This first time we met, we were tasked to talk about the moments we discovered that life wasn’t fair. It started as a round robin of sorts, each of us introducing ourselves. Then one of us volunteered to go first to answer the question. That is when things shifted. Suddenly I found myself actively listening to very personal stories of hardship, trauma, and thankfully, triumph. We empathized with one another. We chimed in with anecdotes. We spoke of grand systemic change. We ranted about patriarchy and racial injustice. We told jokes. We laughed. We did this two hours when we planned for one. But it was worth it. It was worth it because we bonded in ways we never knew we could. We would do it again for three more meetings.

I tell this story and not any of the other ones at I have accumulated at AG because it embodies what AG is all about — community. That day and every day at AG, I have learned the value of building community, of how to make a business about people, of how to strengthened a horizontal leadership structure. I know that I will take this with me wherever I go.

Photo Descriptions | An Anabel’s Grocery sticker with Cornell Orchard apples; Photo credit: Isabel Lu (top right) | Inside Anabel’s Grocery; Photo credit: Isabel Lu (center)

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