Locally Sourced Food and Recipes: Drexel Food Lab Partners with South Philly Food Co-op

Drexel Food Lab, the College of Nursing and Health Professions’ culinary innovation lab, is collaborating with a new partner in its goal of making food accessible, healthy and sustainable – the South Philly Food Co-op.

Students in the Food Lab will develop recipes using seasonal and local produce, for shoppers to take in-store and on the South Philly Food Co-op’s Instagram, as well as tips and resources for upcycling foods and reducing food waste.

The South Philly Food Co-op officially opens in December 2020.

“South Philly Food Co-op is a community-owned grocery store — 10 years in the making — that will serve as a community hub to provide South Philly residents of all income levels access to fresh, local and sustainable groceries,” said Kerri Sitrin, marketing and outreach coordinator for South Philly Food Co-op. “We are committed to social and economic justice, and we aim to preserve and nurture the cultural heritages of our neighbors. We are always looking for Member-Owners to join us in our mission of using food as a force for good!”

Rachel Sherman, project coordinator of the Food Lab, has been a supporter of the South Philly Food Co-op for a while and jumped at the opportunity for students in the Food Lab to collaborate with the co-op.

“It seemed like the perfect way for the students to share their recipes with the community,” said Sherman. “This gives students the chance to create recipes with seasonal ingredients and share their talents with the Philadelphia community. The recipe cards and social media posts are a valuable learning experience in recipe development, recipe writing and editing, and learning to work within parameters, such as length and ingredient availability. A lot of what we do is behind the scenes so we welcome any opportunities where the students can share their creativity with the public.”

The recipe card project is another way for the co-op to connect with the local community, added Sitrin.

“We hope that shoppers will pick up all of the ingredients they need right at the store and go home to make the recipe,” said Sitrin. “We encourage seasonal and local ingredients because we always want to support local farms and foodmakers whenever possible.”

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Sherman has noted a growing interest in locally sourced food.

“I think the most amazing thing I have seen to come out of this year is the shift in focus to local food and community,” said Sherman. “These values are shared by both the Drexel Food Lab and the South Philly Food Co-op. And we are grateful to have the opportunity to share resources, knowledge and promote our students’ work.”

The Drexel Food Lab is a faculty-mentored interdisciplinary research group solving real-world problems in product ideation, product development and recipe development. The lab designs affordable, sustainable, delicious and healthy food products that meet three focus areas: sustainability, health promotion and food access. The lab’s mission is to improve the food system and develop the next generation of food industry leadership.

Media interested in an interview with Sherman should contact Annie Korp at 215-571-4244 or amk522@drexel.edu.