Staff Profile: Lucas

Originally from Sacramento, Lucas returned to California in 2018 after 12 years in Portland, Oregon. “I miss the place,” Lucas says, “not the weather!” While in Portland, Lucas earned a degree in biology that would become handy in surprising ways, and while looking around for a new job stumbled across Food Front Cooperative Grocery, where he started as a floor manager. “I think the values of the co-op attracted me to it, and being the interface between guests and purveyors of quality goods,” Lucas says.

While he was with Food Front, the cooperative decided to open a second store; a process Lucas was involved in from the ground up. Lucas’ interest in quality goods and the comparative vertebrate anatomy component of his degree came together when he transitioned from being a Floor Manager to being a Clerk in the Meat & Seafood department. Through an apprenticeship program Lucas learned more about butchery generally, and eventually became Assistant Manager of the Meat & Seafood department and then Manager. One of Food Front experiences that stands out most to Lucas was the opportunity to go out to the farm of one of their purveyors. As a community-owned cooperative, Food Front values local products and the opportunity to purchase produce and products of animal origin directly from farmers, something that Lucas hopes to see more of in the near future. “I enjoy educating people about meat and why quality meat should be expensive,” Lucas says. “Why we should enjoy it and be conscious of the amount and quality of meat we’re consuming.”

Lucas first heard about Co+opportunity through a contact at National Co-op Grocers. In an intriguing parallel, Lucas came on as a Manager On Duty (MOD) and now also helps run the Meat & Seafood department at Co+opportunity Culver City, where he hopes to continue building up the program to include more in-house processing, with a goal of producing less packaging and packaging waste. In fact, just before kindly setting aside time for this profile, Lucas was assisting a co-op owner who wanted a 12"-14” fillet of salmon, one of the fish Lucas has started processing in-house!

Next time you’re in Culver City and want to talk about the upsides of farmed black cod, cooperatives, or how to tie the perfect fly-fishing lure, be sure to stop by your co-op and say hi to Lucas!

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