Staff Celebrity Spotlight: Ian Brunell
Title: Mt. Airy bakery buyer (plus floor staff)
Where He’s From: Wyndmoor
Where He Lives Now: Mt. Airy
Before He Got Here: He earned a bachelor’s in film and media arts (with a minor in Spanish) from Temple in 2013. He landed a job in Los Angeles doing custom modifications on cameras for TV shows and movies. He enjoyed the work, but the hours were long and the quality of life wasn’t great, so he left after two-plus years. He spent the next year traveling around Europe, learning about wine and olive oil production and soil science. In Catalonia, he lived at a winery cooperative that’s also a livable, workable space for people with mental and psychiatric disabilities. He compiled photo stories about the people he worked with — check them out at ianbrunell.com.
How He Got Here: When Ian came home for Christmas last year, he was looking for a place to do community-oriented agriculture. A job at Weavers Way Farm didn’t pan out; instead, he got a job on the floor in the Mt. Airy store. He took on the bakery buyer duties over the summer.
About Those Job(s): “Floor shifts, you’ve got to have your ears and eyes peeled for absolutely everything…The bakery buyer position seems like it’s had a lot of turnover …One thing I’m excited about is maybe I can get a little more creative — buying products, bringing products in. …It’s a bit more engaging.”
Other pursuits: Taking classes through the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, keeping a garden in Co-op member Ilene Cohen’s Wyndmoor backyard.
Long-Term? “I’ll probably wind up in the agricultural world. …I would love to have an agricultural operation that has some sort of social value to it. What I’ve been learning in the past six months has really put me more down a path of perennial food production, tree food production, what’s possible with perennial foods. …That’s kind of where I’m trying to gear my self-education right now.”
Favorite Co-op Products: Fresh figs, dried dates, Weavers Way Farm produce, Backyard Beans coffee. (He doesn’t eat much bread.)
How He Feels About the Co-op: “It’s a great place to work. I feel in the past few months, I’ve already met people I’ll be friends with for a really long time.”