The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

News

February 9, 2013

Co-op serves up culinary lessons

JOHNSTOWN — Some local students with aspirations of becoming chefs or business leaders will soon be contributing their budding skills to the Greater Prospect Store Co-Op.

Youngsters in Greater Johns-town High School’s culinary arts program will create fresh meals to sell in the shop that is scheduled to open this May.

High school business academy students will learn about keeping financial records, organizing workers and other tasks associated with management positions.

Students will receive those opportunities thanks to an apprentice program set up between the school and co-op.

“They’ll get a chance to really experience some real-world opportunities,” said Darren Buchko, the high school’s director of alternative and innovative programming and business development.

School district representatives are talking with Pennsylvania Highlands Community College about the possibility of having participation in the apprenticeship program counting toward post-secondary credits.

Other students will be able to contribute, too, by building and maintaining community gardens at every school within the district.

The crops will then be sold at the store, which hopes to offer residents of Prospect and

surrounding neighborhoods healthy and inexpensive food in a convenient location.

“I think we’re looking to provide a higher-level apprentice opportunity, but, at the same time help the community,” Buchko said.

The education connection is part of the co-op’s overall goal to foster community involvement.

“We envision the Greater Prospect Store as much more than a store,” said Mike Kane, president and executive director of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, an organization assisting development of the co-op.

“It really is a community enhancement project and that certainly includes youth. The school district’s enthusiasm is really, really helpful in realizing the larger mission. They’re really a key part of it.”

The Greater Prospect Co-Op, which is currently under construction, will be located at

110 William Penn Ave.

People will be able to join the nonprofit organization for an annual fee of $60 or the contribution of 12 hours of work per month. Nonmembers will still be able to purchase foods and other items.

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