Manager Highlight: James Rippel
Title: Back-up Manager
Year Joined: 2015
“I grew up in Florida and lived in Puerto Rico and Colombia before moving to New York. I always had a great time visiting friends here and wanted a change from Latin America, but still wanted to be able to keep up my Spanish, so Bushwick was a logical choice!”
Why did you join the Bushwick Food Cooperative?
I was in and out of The Loom a lot for yoga and coffee and noticed a bunch of amazing looking produce, so I stopped in and asked about becoming a member.
What drew you to a managerial role within the co-op?
I like that managers can focus their efforts on any part of the business that interests them to gain valuable career skills while earning a living wage, instead of racking up student debt.
What have you learned from being part of BFC?
A LOT of interpersonal skills - dealing with the hundreds of different personalities that you end up meeting is incredibly challenging and rewarding. And also a lot about IT, which is the main focus of my extra-managerial efforts. It involves learning a lot about data science, which you could learn at a college or university, but it would be much more expensive!
How has the co-op changed the way you view food?
I end up trying a lot of food that I otherwise wouldn’t have. I recently discovered kabocha squash and have probably made it about once a week ever since!
I also think a lot more about the rights of farm workers. Our sourcing committee does an amazing job of banning food that comes from companies that are constantly embroiled in litigation with workers who make just a few dollars an hour. It gives me a greater appreciation of the true cost of cheap produce.
What do you do outside of the co-op?
I teach English as a Second Language and do some minor/seasonal property management.
Do you have any recommendations for anyone who is new to the co-op?
Try to get involved with any committee that you can, they need the help!
Have any other questions for James? Let him know below!