CALLICOON, NY — Grocery shopping in Callicoon may be getting bulkier—and more sustainable.
The Callicoon Pantry, set to open in August, will be an environmentally friendly, community-minded and accessible bulk pantry on Lower Main Street, according to its founders Patrice Tanner and Dania LaScola.
Customers will be able to shop for items in the store, as well as sign up for a $20-per-month membership through the community purchasing club to receive member discounts and access to more than 2,000 natural and organic items for pre-order. Additionally, the store, which will sell all natural and organic bulk staples, will be accessible to EBT customers. Right now, anyone who uses food stamps through the EBT program can make note of it when they sign up to be a member and have the fee waived.
The pantry has been offering a founding member drive—32 people have already signed up and will be part of the first pre-order. “It really took off,” Tanner said.
The owners are gathering input from the community about hours, but plan to start off with seven days a week. “We can be open whenever the community needs,” Tanner said.
The store was borne from a local need, she said. After the health food store in Callicoon closed, a group started looking to bring something back that would meet the demand. Eva Barnett, owner of the Café Adella Dori who is currently working to form a green committee in town, was particularly passionate about zero waste.
Tanner and her husband both worked for Whole Foods Market for many years, while LaScola has a sustainability background. The combination of that knowledge is what’s bringing the pantry to life.
The opening of the pantry will bring the number of places where you can grocery shop in Callicoon up to three, along with Peck’s Market and the weekly farmers’ market—both of which also encourage reusable bags. Tanner said while she loves and supports Peck’s, she wants to push for less packaging waste overall. She envisions the bulk store as the second stop for customers after the weekly farmers’ market.
“We really hope to educate consumers on cooking from bulk, cooking from scratch… Buying prepackaged goods, ready-to-go foods, it’s an easy option, but it’s damaging in many ways,” Tanner said.
This month is Plastic-Free July, a global movement that encourages people to go without single-use plastics. States have signed onto the sustainable trend. New York is one of a few states that have passed bills banning the use of plastic bags in stores. Informally, plastic straws and other single-use items have also seen their popularity decrease, as videos of sea life stuffed with refuse circulate on social media.
“We’re definitely against single-use plastic and using as minimal plastic as possible,” Tanner said. “The general idea is to cut back on consumer waste.”