Co-op Questions with Julia Jarvis


By Taylor Dibbert

I recently got in touch with longtime Takoma Park resident Julia Jarvis to discuss the Co-op and her experiences as a member.

Our exchange, which has been edited, is below.

Would you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I am a retired United Church of Christ minister and Wellness Advisor at [the National Institutes of Health] NIH. For over two decades, I was the Spiritual Director for the Interfaith Families Project of Greater Washington, founded in Takoma Park by four founding mothers. 

Randy Gibson, Ward 3 Councilmember, is my longtime partner and friend, and we raised twin daughters in Takoma Park. Currently, I am co-leading a grieving group and teaching a weekly mindfulness class.

What year did you join the Co-op? 


Why did you want to become a member?

When I lived in Mount Pleasant in 1988-1990, I was on the board for the City Garden Co-op and when I moved to Takoma Park I wanted to continue being part of the local co-op. 

The City Garden Co-op was quite different from TPSS Co-op. We all had to pitch in to make it happen. It was so fun and one of  the best ways I made great friends and neighbors. At one time I do believe our TPSS Co-op heavily depended on volunteers and I miss that cooperative component.

How frequently do you shop there? Do you have any favorite items or brands?

We shop at least once a week at the Co-op for veggies, fruit, organic milk, peanuts, coffee, bagels, vitamins and of course beer and wine!

What’s the best part about being a member of the Co-op?

We can walk there, the friendly staff – especially Les who actually knows our member number by heart. 

Would you share your thoughts on the Co-op’s position in Takoma? Do you view the place as something more than a grocery store?

I know the Co-op is one of the largest employers in [Takoma Park] TP, so that is significant. It takes good care of its employees including health care. Many of its employees have been working there for many years, so there is a level of employee contentment which is great.

Of course it is more than a grocery store. It’s where you run into neighbors and friends. It’s a place you can trust for the quality of food, cleanliness and informed employees … especially in wellness. Jane is very informed and super helpful when I have needed to know about vitamins, etc.

Also, it’s a place where people can come and get free food. I love that about the Co-op, that Small Things Matter can set up shop behind the Co-op to give out food.  

Taylor Dibbert serves on TPSS Co-op’s Board of Representatives.