Katti Veiga, English, Commonwealth Honors Program
“I was fortunate to experience first-hand some of the hard work and different efforts that go into moving an idea of a co-op into something tangible.”
"I'm a sophomore in the Commonwealth Honors Program, working on graduating early. My experience working as a Co-op Scholar with the Merrimack Valley Food Co-Operative (MVFC) over the summer of 2012 was fantastic. Originally I was planning to do something related to my major, English with literature as a concentration, or my minor, Education, but instead I ended up working on something completely unrelated: a project dealing with food issues. The MVFC is an effort to start up a cooperatively-owned grocery store in the Merrimack Valley, particularly in Lawrence. I got to research demographic information, possible meeting locations in the surrounding community, and how to write MOUs and statements of need. I also worked on creating an informational packet about co-ops and the MVFC specifically, and creating and designing various posters. Going into this internship, I knew nothing about co-ops. Interning for MVFC gave me the opportunity to learn about this completely different branch of our culture and see some of the food related issues in the surrounding area. A community-owned cooperative such as MVFC can take five to seven years to get off the ground; becoming fully established and actually opening its doors. Currently the MVFC is in its second year, so I was fortunate to experience first-hand some of the hard work and different efforts that go into moving an idea of a co-op into something tangible. Taking part in the UMass Lowell co-op was a unique experience and opportunity that I would not have had anywhere else."