Toast & Finches

Diversity is a Tremendous Strength

Word limits are word limits, and sometimes editors have to trim good stuff out of stories. So here’s another outtake from one of mine.

In September, I wrote a piece for Civil Eats about the Seward Co-op, which had recently made a series of necessary changes to its hiring policy in order to get more people of color onto its staff. In the course of our interview, Leila Wolfrum, a co-op manager in Durham, North Carolina, stopped the conversation to make a point that was later cut but now — in the aftermath of our election last week — seems critical to the story. The Durham co-op has been open for a year and a half and employs 45 people, 32 of whom identify as people of color. As Wolfrum told me, diversity in the co-op is important for several reasons: it brings jobs to the people who live in the community, it creates a grocery store that reflects and welcomes the community it serves, and it’s just good business.

“I think it’s important to recognize that diversity is not something we’re doing solely for the health of the community,” Wolfrum said. “It’s for the health of store, too. We’re a great store, a store people like, because we have a diverse team contributing their ideas and perspectives to our decision-making. Diversity is a tremendous strength.”

[Image credit: Durham Co-Op Market]