Sopheary Sok Food Cooperative

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For my senior capstone, I worked with the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia, Vietlead, and the Bhutanese American Organization of Philadelphia to form a food cooperative. Along with 5 other high-schoolers in the co-op team, we explored cooperative models as a more economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable alternative for businesses. We met twice a week since the start of the school year to learn about co-op and Southeast Asian food history, co-op structure, and launched our own cooperative that culminated in a political pop-up dinner. I learned about the history of many Southeast Asian dishes and got to cook some myself. The purpose of this is to build solidarity and extend outreach between South and Southeast Asians. The purpose of our co-op is for the youth who are leading it, to practice leadership and create an enterprise based on the principles of increasing democracy in the workplace as well as the community in hopes of providing economic sustainability for mainly the immigrant and refugee community, who are generally marginalized from the current economy in one way or another. We charged $10 per guest for a dinner course consisting of banh cuon (appetizer), bor bor (main course), and mango sticky rice (dessert). As they were eating, members of the co-op team, including myself, taught the histories behind each dish and its ties to the resiliency of our communities. We also taught everything we learned about cooperatives and how we plan to use profits towards a community cookbook with recipes and stories submitted by elders.
Annotated Bibliography: 
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cGTBYPwYGPCJb1ys4rrQYg0Idt3MZUMeElhpy0UKnuM/edit?usp=sharing

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