Faces of Kingston: Katy Kondrat, Farmers Market, Kingston Co-op | Community Pages | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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Faces of Kingston: Katy Kondrat, Farmers Market, Kingston Co-op

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PHOTO: DAVID MCINTYRE
  • Photo: David McIntyre

What organization(s) are you involved with in Kingston and what is your role?

I'm a council member and founder of the Kingston Food Coop, and the man

ager of the Kingston Farmers Market.


Where do you go in Kingston to recharge?

I love Kingston Point Beach-it’s amazing to have a sandy beach right in our city, and it’s a community spot where all of Kingston’s people hang out. I also often just walk through my neighborhood to recharge and let my mind wander.


What is the biggest challenge facing Kingston?

Finding a way to make and keep housing affordable for people on the lower end of the income spectrum; so many people are being priced out of their homes. There are several amazing organizations here working hard to support those folks, and Kingston as a whole will be better off if we all stand together with them.


What is the most woke thing Kingston could do?

Support and facilitate the development of cooperatives-housing, business, and other types-throughout the city. When folks are collective owners of where they live, work, and play, everyone is better off.


Where is your favorite place to go in Kingston for a bite or a beer? What do you like about it?

I like to support as many different spots throughout the city as I can, and I love that there are so many options for delicious food and drinks out. I’m especially thankful for the businesses like Rough Draft and The Anchor that give back to the community and support local organizations.


Why does your organization’s work matter?

In a broad sense, food is the foundation of life-good food builds community, improves health and wellbeing, and is fun to eat! As a cooperatively-owned community grocery store, the Kingston Food Co-op will be a place to buy food that is of the people, by the people, and for the people. We will be an important link in the local food system, offering a central place to buy affordable food that has been grown and made in our region while keeping profits circulating in our own community, rather than in corporate hands. And we will hopefully take the dread out of grocery shopping!


What challenges/pain points does your organization face?

It’s always challenging to start something new from scratch, especially if it’s a structure, like a cooperative, that many people aren’t familiar with. Fortunately, when people do learn about the benefits of a food co-op, they usually jump right on board.


Why do you love living in Kingston?

I love that there are so many people in Kingston who are deeply invested in the health and longevity of this community. There is a strong current of mutual aid and interdependence, which is not something to take for granted.


If you could change one single thing about the city, what would it be?

More trees! The benefits of trees in cities cannot be overstated, and I would love to see more trees everywhere.


Where do you see Kingston in five years?

In five years I would hope to see Kingston continuing to deepen its focus on the people who live here, having conversations and taking action to support the most vulnerable among us, and thriving because of it!


Tell me about the importance of the availability of fresh local produce.

There is nothing like bringing home fresh fruits and veggies from the farmers market, the YMCA Farm Project’s farm stand, and soon the Kingston Food Co-op! Eating local food supports the growers and makers who work hard to feed us, is better for the environment, tastes better, and nourishes our bodies. What’s not to like?

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