Located on South Seminary Street, Cornucopia is the home of organic, vegan-tailored foods and cheeses. Senior Jamie Jang, a cashier at Cornucopia, provides insight into his work and the challenges within the food system.
Jang has been working at Cornucopia since November of last year. He applied for a job at Cornucopia because he needed more money, and his girlfriend was working at Uncle Billy’s Bakery next door. He currently works as a cashier two days a week: one day in the store, and one day in the bakery. In addition to needing more money, Jang’s interest in working at Cornucopia comes from being “very food-oriented.”
With a selection ranging from Japanese rice crackers to garam masala paste, it is hard to pick the most interesting item in the store.
“Agave‘s pretty interesting,” Jang said. “I didn’t realize agave was that interesting; I mean, we put it in our coffee all the time … Apparently blue agave makes tequila and it can only be grown in the Agave valley in Mexico.”
Other than agave, Jang mentions that their selection of cheeses is also noteworthy. Despite Jang not having “the money to fully enjoy it, when I serve people cheese, I get to have the little scraps and stuff and think, ‘hmm, I would like that.’”
Jang is not concerned just about food consumption, but also about the issues the food system faces.
“That’s what attracted me to the business. I recognize that the food system has a lot of problems, and there are a lot of ways to fix it,” he explained. He said that, while Cornucopia makes an effort to fix these problems, a dilemma they face is their reliance on shipping.
Jang said that Cornucopia has a wide selection of organic goods shipped from California.
He asked, “Would I prefer something local with pesticides, compared to something from California that’s organic? I don’t know … it’s like, ‘Oh man, why don’t we have that anywhere closer? Do we have to ship that all the way from California?’”
When asked to comment about this shipping dilemma, senior Adrienne Ernst believes that, “The thing with all environmental movements is that there will always be a drawback. But if you have a store that’s at least trying by having organic food, it’s better than a store that still has the same problem with shipping, but not making the effort [to be organic].”
Despite Jang’s concerns about the food problems, he still enjoys working at Cornucopia. One of the things that Jang has learned on the job is that, “As an employee, if you can get the customers to like you, then the bosses will treat you better.” As a result, “Employees will do better if they feel like their bosses care.”
When asked about his favorite aspect of his job, Jang believes that, “The customers are awesome and they are the highlight of my job. In general, they are all very nice. They either laugh at my jokes, or they joke back.”
This, coupled with the “cool crew” who work there, are what gives Cornucopia its friendly atmosphere, according to Jang. He added that another benefit of working at Cornucopia is that “it’s outside the ‘Knox Bubble.’ I’m kind of getting to know Galesburg, and at times, I almost feel like a Galesburger myself.”