10 February

People I Like. Thanks Katie An Unheralded Pandemic Hero. She’s Moving On

by Jon Katz

Katie is the director of the local food co-op, the Cambridge Food Co-op. She is leaving to pursue her dreams.

I believe she saved the co-op during the frightening pandemic when people were not going out to buy food.

Today was her last day. She and I had a long hug (with her permission.)

Katie did more than I can recount here. She got grants to renovate the space, brought order to chaos, drew local people to the co-op, made it profitable, and made it possible for people like me to eat fresh, healthy, and unprocessed food.

Without her and the co-op, I would have been in a lot of trouble, and so would many other people in town.

I only take photos of people I like, and I like and respect Kate for the mostly unheralded great work that she did.

She ever lost her sense of humor or graciousness, she created a warm and efficient environment, and never complained or bragged, or politicked.

She never was angry or short-tempered, or abrupt. She always tried to help, and that is now the ethos of the staff there.

I am grateful for the co-op. I rarely have to go to a supermarket anymore, and Katie is responsible for that.

I’ve been going to supermarkets for 15 years, and there isn’t a single person working there who knows me or who I might consider a friend. The staff is different every time I go there, and nobody wants to chat or make contact.

I consider Katie, who is also a dancing teacher and dancer and part-time bartender,  a friend. She has not only run a food place, she’s created a precious environment. It is always fun to go in there; the staff is always friendly and helpful, and the food is always fresh, well-stocked, and healthy.

I know that is a brutal and complex task.

I suppose this is not a great deal in the scheme of things and in a time of stress and wear. Katie got the co-op through the pandemic and made it better. She leaves a place in good, almost miraculous shape.

Great things are often done in small ways; Katie is a hero of mine. I already miss her and wish her well. She is heading off to pursue her dreams.

I know how many co-ops around the country went under. Ours is stronger than ever. So long, Katie, and thanks to you. You are the person who needs to be written about, a crusade of mine.


  1. Well, you have a nerve! First you give an apple to a horse and then you hug a friend. I’m not sure I can take all this good will without comment, but I think you have left me speechless.

  2. Love this piece about Katie and the co-op. I have a similar place near me. Bootstrap Farm….where I live to go, learn recip s, get great local food and other items. A treasured place! Wishing Katie well.

  3. Jon,
    Through your writing , we learn about people who calm troubled waters, rescue people, and renew things and programs that have become frayed. This challenges us to look at ourselves and see what we CAN DO.
    It might only be something little: a smile, a kind word, an encouragement, a few cents, or even just a THANK YOU.
    It might be large: a sizable donation or a big chunk of time.
    We are all a part of The Army of Good.
    And when friends move on to do other things, we don’t cling, but tell them how they helped and wish them well.
    PS: The painting behind Co-op Katie is lovely.

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