"Working cooperatively is in our bones, it's in our blood. Caring for each other is part of our survival," says Steph Wiley. He stands on an industrial street in Brownsville, New York. The sidewalk is lined with empty wooden pallets and thick bundles of cardboard stacked waist high, evidence of a busy day at Brooklyn Packers, the Black-led worker owned food distribution cooperative that Wiley co-founded on solidarity economy principles.
The collaborative food sourcing, packing and distribution that culminates here is an integral link in an alternative supply chain that Wiley, 47, and other long-term residents of Central Brooklyn are building together essentially from scratch. Its growth during the pandemic is evidence that their vision for a local regenerative food economy is not only sustainable, it's essential.