This month we will be starting a new series called "Meet a Member Owner". You've heard enough from the committees, now you'll hear why your neighbors decided to join us.
Meet Christy Santoro! What do you do for a living? I am a homebirth midwife and my practice is Motherland Midwifery. More importantly, I'm a mama to Itzela and a partner in life with Martin! How did you hear about the food co-op? Now that you ask that, I'm not sure! It was either through meeting Alison Fritz and Dan Pohlig or through Newbold Neighbors. I served on the Outreach Committee for a year in a limited capacity but had to step off of that officially due to time constraints. But I'm pretty involved and connected in South Philly as I see my work as a midwife including being a community resource and connecting like-minded folks. I've shared the info about the co-op with all of my clients in the area as they are prime consumers of healthy foods as homebirth families and new parents. Why did you join the food co-op? I've always tried to join co-ops wherever I've lived, from Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, NC (Chapel Hill) to Mariposa in West Philadelphia. In fact, whenever I travel, I try to find the local food co-op as a way of orienting myself to where I am since co-ops serve as a hub for most all the things I care about most: community building, local and healthy food, natural medicines, people and planet over profit, keeping money in the community, etc. The past years living in South Philly have been the first time in my adult life that I've gone more than a year not belonging to a food co-op so I am very excited that this effort is well underway. I love being part of something that I have a personal and community stake in and can help create and influence in terms of offerings and selection and values. Along with my passion for midwifery and women's health, supporting and creating local food systems and nutrition education and cooking have always been near to my heart. I was involved in the beginnings of the Clark Park Farmers Market in West Philly and worked as a Nutrition Educator for Philabundance before completing my training as a midwife. Now that I am a mother, I am even more motivated and committed to buy fresh and buy local and I see the SPFC filling an important gap for myself and my neighbor's shopping needs. We are part of the Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA and buying club, Winter Harvest buying club and the Bouvier Street Community Garden...when the Co-op opens we will be able to get the vast majority of our food within the neighborhood--can't wait! What is your favorite meal to cook and why? Oh there are so many! But with it being autumn, it is hard not to focus on a soup or stew. There is an Indonesian Spinach Squash Soup I've been making for years. It is very layered in flavor and versatile in terms of pairing a squash and a green from a range of options--my favorite combo is using butternut squash and kale. It is especially lovely when I can get over to the Indian Market at 43rd and Walnut for curry leaves as they contribute a unique flavor that just sets off the rest of the spices and herbs in the soup. And then I can get a few of the amazing homemade samosas to go with the soup too! The soup and samosas, along with a mixed green salad - that definitely has some arugula in the mix - tossed with sliced pears, toasted pistachios, pomegranate seeds and a citrus balsamic dressing with some feta cheese crumbled on top is a lovely meal. Perfect for a crisp fall evening! Honey Crisp or Pink Lady apples? Honey Crisp Kale or Collards? That's a hard one...but I'd have to say Kale. Milk Chocolate or Dark Chocolate? Definitely dark...the darker the better! And if it has little bits of cocoa nibs- heaven! Do you have a nickname? Nope but my adorable daughter Itzela who joins me at the co-op meetings has several: Itzy Bitzy, Zela Bella, Smiley Wiley (her last name is Wiley). What are your favorite products? While I aspire to cook as much as possible from scratch there are a few treats I especially enjoy. I love the Sesame Seaweed Rice Chips by Lundberg particularly when paired with Bobbi's Garlic Hummus. Panda Licorice Chews. All kinds of sea vegetables especially Dulse, which is one of my daughter's favorite snacks. We live on Seven Stars Farm Plain Whole Milk Yogurt-you can just tell those cows are happy living on that biodynamic farm. Much to my husband's chagrin, I like to ferment all sorts of stuff at the house, but when out and about I really enjoy an ice-cold GT's Mystic Mango Synergy Kombucha drink. I love Rishi teas, especially the organic masala chai which is the closest I've found to being back to a chai stand in India. Lastly, we love Ray's Seitan for making homemade veggie cheesesteaks especially if topped with Kennet Square mushrooms and Smoked Cheddar from Lancaster Farm Fresh on fresh rolls from one of the wonderful bakeries in South Philly.
Christy is a personal hero to a few of the ladies on the Board. Thank you for sharing your story! Please consider sharing your story about why you became a member-owner. Click here to help out with this feature.