Mariposa and Non-Profit Affiliation: FAQs and Survey

Mariposa Co-op currently has the opportunity to seek an affiliation with Mill Creek Farm’s 501(c)3 umbrella, called “A Little Taste of Everything” (or ALTOE). Please fill out this four question survey so that the Food Justice & Anti-Racism work group and the membership can find out what members think about the board exploring this affiliation. The Membership will make a decision regarding this opportunity at the  Annual General Membership meeting on Sunday, March 3 at Calvary Church.

Frequently Asked Questions about a affiliation between Mariposa Food Co-op and Mill Creek Farm

What is the Mill Creek Farm?

The Mill Creek Farm is an educational urban farm located at 49th and Brown Streets in West Philadelphia that is dedicated to improving local access to fresh produce, building a healthy community and environment, and promoting a just and sustainable food system.

The Mill Creek Farm grows food without using chemicals to improve access to fresh food in the community, and provides farm-based community education to promote a healthy food system and environment. The farm offers service learning and volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups, tours, community workdays, summer jobs for youth, after-school programs, and public workshops. The farm features fruit trees, bees, and structures that demonstrate sustainable and natural building techniques including a composting toilet, living roof, cob oven, solar panels, and use of recycled and salvaged materials in construction and a mosaic.

What kind of affiliation is proposed?

The proposed affiliation would create a new program area between Mariposa Food Co-op and Mill Creek Farm’s non-profit entity, while they remain independent organizations with independent Boards, etc.

What is in it for Mariposa in this relationship?

The affiliation would allow Mariposa Food Co-op’s education, food justice, and other charitable programs to operate under the 501(c)3 instead of under Mariposa’s operations budget (without having to set up a 501(c)3 from scratch, which Mariposa would not likely be able to do). This will build on an existing relationship that includes Mariposa workshifts at Mill Creek Farm, selling farm produce at the Baltimore Avenue store, and collaboration on educational programs.

How do members benefit? How does the community benefit?

The Mariposa Membership has an opportunity to play a key role in initiating a process that will benefit West Philadelphia and greater Philadelphia communities. Following in the footsteps of other food co-ops, Mariposa would support its membership and community through greater access to farming, education, internship programs, youth empowerment, and food justice activities. Our membership and our community will benefit from increased workshops and community events, and through opening up a new revenue stream to pay for these programs (which currently are paid for by Mariposa’s sales).

Isn’t Mariposa a Non-Profit?

Not really! Some businesses operate as not-for-profit, but being a tax-deductible non-profit is a specific Federal designation set aside for public service groups. The IRS code is “501(c)3.” Because all co-ops are owned by private individuals (even if some of their services- such as shopping- are open to the public), they are all barred from being treated like public, tax deductible organizations. (This means that, despite our good public works and community outreach, donations to Mariposa Food Co-op are not tax-deductible for donors and Mariposa is not eligible for certain grant funding.)

How much will this cost? Is it financially feasible?

Costs for this project will be carefully assessed by the Mariposa Board and Mariposa’s Finance Committee before enacting an affiliation.

Estimated cost for 2013, start-up: $15,000 contribution towards Executive Director salary, plus any legal fees associated with the logistics of creating a legal affiliation.

other costs: Future costs would be covered by revenue brought in through fundraising including individual donations, foundations, events, etc that the non-profit’s staff and board would be responsible for. Mariposa would not incur direct costs for this effort.

What are the other legal implications?

A lawyer supporting Mill Creek Farm with its affiliation explorations, and working on a pro-bono basis, is helping to highlight details regarding legal feasibility for Mariposa as well.

How can I get involved?

You may also donate to the Mill Creek Farm (which IS tax deductible ) by visiting this website:


The Daily Pennsylvanian :: Youth bring local produce to West Philadelphia communities

The Daily Pennsylvanian :: Youth bring local produce to West Philadelphia communities.

Patrick Hulce | DP


The Youth Grower’s Market on Friday in West Philadelphia’s Malcolm X Park featured food grown by the community’s high-school students in their schools’ own farms. The market was organized in part by the Urban Nutrition Initiative, part of Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships.

This Friday, business-minded Philadelphia youth gathered at Malcolm X Park in West Philadelphia to bring healthy, local produce to their communities.

The Youth Grower’s Market was the last in the first season of these events organized by the Urban Nutrition Initiative — part of Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships — which works with 75 high-school student interns to help them grow, cook and sell healthy food.

The market marked the first time different youth organizations from around the city ­— including Teens for Good and the Youth Urban Mobile Market — and UNI schools Sayre High School, Saul High School, Bartram High School and the School of the Future were brought together. The event saw about 15 high-school students selling produce they grew themselves.

The UNI works with students in Academically Based Community Service courses, as well as volunteers from Penn, to provide high-school students with mentoring and college preparation assistance. Students in the program also have the opportunity to travel to visit colleges and speak at food justice conferences.

The goal of the Youth Grower’s Market was to “bring healthy food to a neighborhood where it’s not otherwise readily available,” according to UNI Director Danny Gerber. “We found that youth farm stands have a great way of encouraging people to purchase produce, support the youth and engage in dialogue … it builds a sense of community around food,” he added.

Taj Jones, who is a manager of a YUMM bicycle-driven food cart, said that growing and selling produce at Youth Grower’s Markets has “helped [him] become a better public speaker, citizen and business leader.”

This summer, UNI also hosted a national conference at Penn that brought 150 youth leaders from over 20 states together to create a Youth Food Bill of Rights as part of their discussion of how youth can improve the food system, Tyler Holmberg, project director at Bartram’s Community Farm and Food Resource Center, said. “It was a forum for students to meet other youth doing this work … and work to increase access [to healthy food] in neighborhoods with high rates of diet-related diseases,” he said.

“This is a movement where young people are taking control of their food system,” Gerber added.

Rooted in Community and the Youth Food Bill of Rights- Philadelphia

As previously posted:

The Youth Food Bill of Rights is what YOUTH believe our food system should look like. It’s a work in progress. It’s created by YOUTH. It’s a statement to all. It’s a tool for change! WE NEED YOUR HELP!

On July 30th, over 100 youth food justice leaders from all over the country will present the Youth Food Bill of Rights at the National Constitution Center.
The Youth Food Bill of Rights will be created during the Rooted in Community (RIC) Nation Youth and Food Justice Conference hosted by The Urban Nutrition Initiative July 28th-31st.

More info about Rooted in Community (RIC)

Learn more and RSVP

Help us make a difference in our food systems by coming to the Constitution Center in Philadelphia on July 30th at 2pm!!!

Like our movement on facebook


Join RIC youth food justice leaders at the RIC Community Potluck

Mariposa will be leading one of the many workshops this week for high school aged youth, all pertaining to Food Justice. Our session will highlight the connections between the 7 cooperative principles and food justice. Post a comment if you’d like to donate art supplies for our workshop.

Youth Food Bill of Rights!

Young People are getting organized around nutrition, food access, and their right to control their own interaction with the food systems in their schools and all around them.

On July 30th, 2011, over 150 youth will gather at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia to present a Youth Food Bill of Rights:

What is the Youth Food Bill of Rights?

It’s what youth believe our food system should be like!
It’s a work in progress
It’s created by Youth
It’s a Statement to All
It’s a tool for Change!!!

Young people, educators, and allies everywhere can take part in the day of action, and help students give input for the Youth Food Bill of Rights!