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Park Slope Co-Op Member Alleges Racial Discrimination, Fundraises $10K to Sue Grocer

Plus, chef Justin Smillie and Donna Lennard launch a new takeout and delivery pizza operation out of Il Buco Alimentari — and more intel

Formed in 1973, the Coop is one of the oldest and largest food cooperatives in America. PSFC has more than 15,500 members, most of whom work once every four weeks in exchange for a 20 – 40% savings on groceries.
The Park Slope Food Co-Op in Brooklyn
Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

A Park Slope Food Co-Op member is raising money to sue the organization, alleging racial discrimination

Park Slope Food Co-Op member Reginald Ferguson has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $10,000 in order to sue the decades-old, famed Brooklyn grocer over his suspension, alleging racial discrimination, Brooklyn Paper reports.

Ferguson, who is Black, tells the community newspaper that he was suspended from the co-op following a situation in 2017 in which another member complained about Ferguson’s choice of music while he was working as shift manager. The complaint went in front of the co-op’s “Dispute Resolution Squad,” where another member “backed up the complaint, and took issue with Ferguson’s joyous attitude,” according to the report. Ferguson was eventually suspended over the situation without access to an internal hearing, he says, in a move that goes against the co-op’s disciplinary guidelines.

Now, after leading ongoing protests at the co-op to try and get a hearing, he’s looking to take the case to federal court. “I am doing this because when I asked for due process and a hearing pertaining to my playing of this type of music I was repeatedly ignored and denied, especially when I protested this unfair treatment in and outside the store until Covid hit,” Ferguson wrote on his GoFundMe campaign.

The co-op’s general manager did not respond to a request for comment on the story from Brooklyn Paper.

In other news

— The New York Post’s editorial board argues that limiting NYC restaurants to 25 percent capacity indoors could spell the end for many establishments, and the city should instead allow restaurants to operate under the same 50 percent capacity regulations as the rest of the state.

— Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang’s Grub Street Diet involves pit stops at Shake Shack, Sushi on Jones, Empanada Mama, and more.

— Chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Alexander Smalls recalls eating his way through Harlem with pioneering actor Cicely Tyson, who recently died.

— AMNY profiles Cara Nicoletti, the Brooklyn-based co-owner of a new sustainable, women-owned sausage company Seemore Meats & Veggies.

— Chef Justin Smillie and Donna Lennard have launched a new delivery and takeout pizza business called Smillie Pizza out of Noho’s Il Buco Alimentari. Pizzas include kale and anchovy; green chorizo; mortadella; and a cacio pepe pie with mozzarella, fontina, ricotta, and pecorino cheeses. The operation is open daily from noon to 10 p.m.

— Another great use for Winner bread: