Maria Camoratto

2011 Board Elections Candidate Statement:

1. Tell us about yourself, work, beliefs and values and include your experiences and accomplishments with any of the SPFC organizing committees?
I’m an architect and community developer. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador and since then have done affordable housing and cooperative housing development. When I moved to Philadelphia from Brooklyn 2 years ago I was interested in meeting like-minded people and came across the SPFC. Now I’m Vice Chair of the SPFC Steering Committee as well as a member of the Outreach Committee. I’m also heading a small group working on grants for SPFC and another group focused on event planning/fundraising. As full time work, I’m the Director of Real Estate Development for Norris Square Civic Association in Kensington where I focus on projects that have a positive impact on the community. These experiences make me an asset to the growth of the coop and I look forward to continuing the work.

2. Why do you value Cooperatives?
The cooperative structure creates a unique community where people work and learn and shop together. Coops also provide me a voice in the business where I buy my food, plus it’s a way to support my neighborhood through jobs and local business.

3. What is your definition of a Cooperative?
I worked with housing coops in NYC where people had a chance to own a home when individually they could not afford one. They were accomplishing something together that they never could have done alone. For me this is the essence of a cooperative, people working together to get somewhere they couldn’t get on their own.

4. What is your vision of growth for a South Philly Food Cooperative?
We have over 1000 surveys so far and will continue to spread the word. We’ll link together with local businesses in an effort to support one another and make our neighborhood flourish. The educational aspect of the cooperative will also grow so that we are providing healthy local food as well as informing people about nutrition and sustainable practices.

The rest of the candidate statements are available here.