Image of woman with a view of Sydney harbour in the background

What do you do when you are concerned about all the unnecessary packaging in the world and want to get back in touch with food and community – you volunteer at the Co-op! We talked to Tracey to share her volunteering story.

Tracey moved back to Manly late last year after living in Copenhagen. There, Tracey worked in a store similar to the Manly Food Co-op (Wefood in Norrebro) that was attempting to reduce waste and operate more sustainably by selling past the use by date food products. After moving to Manly, Tracey stumbled upon the Co-op and started to shop there. She loved the connection to food it has and decided to volunteer a few months ago. Tracey volunteers two hours a week.

What Tracey noticed with the Manly Co-op store was how clean and organised it was, with an impressive range of pulses, grains, herbs, spices, oils, tea and much more in neat rows of (mostly) glass jars. Tracey loves the way the Co-op puts you back in touch with food in a mindful way. You don’t pick up packets of products in plastic, you can measure out exactly what you need. 

We asked Tracey to sum up in three points what she liked about the Manly Co-op. 

Firstly she enjoyed the fact the shop operates sustainably, recycling where possible and reducing single use packaging even to the point of having spare sterilised jars for shopper use if they forget to bring their own. 

Secondly, she loves the diverse range of products and learning from members and other shoppers what they might use certain herbs and spices for.

Lastly, Tracey likes the connection the shop has to the community, buying from local suppliers where possible and also connections to other community groups and volunteers.

Tracey recalls that years ago people went to multiple shops to get groceries which meant there was a connection with the shop owner, suppliers and your community. The Co-op is one of the few places that tries to keep these connections going, by sourcing from local suppliers and creating that community feel.

Tracey says shopping at the Co-op “brings the human back to shopping”, after all the isolation of COVID.

As an avid cyclist, Tracey rides to the Co-op for her shifts and makes use of the bike parking right out the front of the store. She has on occasion had to think which side of the road to ride on though!

If you would like to get involved with volunteering or can offer some help in admin or other areas like events and marketing, email us at