Volunteer Spotlight: Gosia Swearingen

The heart of any co-op is its member-owners, and that is certainly true of the Fredericksburg Food Co-op. This monthly feature will tell you more about some of the member-owners who give their time and talents to help us on our path toward opening a free-standing, locally owned grocery store. Want to help out? Contact us about volunteering!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am originally from Poland. My husband, kids and I moved to Fredericksburg about 8 years ago. Currently, I am pursuing a Nursing Degree at Germanna. My family is crazy about traveling and sailing. I am an audiobooks addict, an avid knitter, an occasional painter and crafter.

I am most passionate about a zero-waste lifestyle. I have far to go, but I believe that the Food Co-op will make it easer for me to minimize my impact on our planet.

How did you hear about the Fredericksburg Food Co-op and why did you become a member?

I learned about the food co-op at the Fredericksburg Farmers Market and my family finally joined last August.

What volunteer work do you do with the Co-op and what do you like most about volunteering?

I volunteer for the “T-shirts to  bags” project. I make bags out of donated T-shirts and give them away at the farmers market and at additional events. In addition, I am on the Food Co-op Sustainability Committee. Last but not least, I coordinate the oral care recycling program. Currently, I am looking for individuals or business that would like to join us and collect used oral care items, so they could be made into useful objects, like benches. I hope to create a network of drop-off locations.

People are what I like the most about volunteering with the Food Co-op. Being from so far away, I feel like with the Co-op I have found family away from home.

What are you most looking forward to about the Co-op?

I am most excited to be able to shop for local produce and to have good bulk food options.

What’s your favorite thing about the Fredericksburg food scene?

The people are my favorite part of the Fredericksburg food scene. Their passion for the culinary art shows in the quality of dishes.

What one local food experience would you not want our readers to miss?

I do have to admit that we do not go out often. There are still many places that we need to discover. From the places we are familiar with I can recommend:
For casual dining: Vivify. The veggie burger and fries are excellent.
For a night out: Orofino. The food tastes just like in Italy.

What advice do you have for someone considering becoming a Co-op member?

A co-op is like investing. You are investing in community, local farmers, and our planet. The payback is kinship and support, local food, cleaner planet. If you still are not sure if you want to join, consider that when you join the co-op you are a co-owner. You get to vote and it matters.