There’s a $5 million food fight going on at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth.
Like many things at the 244-year-old yard, it’s steeped in history.
In 1914, a group of shop superintendents organized an employees’ cooperative association – which became known as the “co-op” – to provide a place where hungry workers could get hot lunches without leaving the shipyard.
They sold shares for $1 apiece and bought ovens, storage bins and other equipment. As the shipyard grew over the decades – the workforce peaked at 43,000 during World War II – the co-op blossomed into a booming business.
When Woody Copeland went to work in the yard in 1972, there were five hot-food cafeterias and 50 “gedunks” – a Navy slang term for snack-food stands – scattered along the yard’s eight-mile waterfront.