Join a Food Cooperative to Save Big on Natural and Organic Food
Posted on Saturday, November 10th, 2012 at 6:12 am
A food cooperative, or food co-op for short, is a community based grocery store that is operated and run by volunteers and co-op members. The requirements for joining a food cooperative vary from community to community. Some are private and require members to pay annual dues. In this case, only private members may shop in the store. In an open food cooperative, anyone can shop, but members receive a special discount.
Members of the cooperative can work together to offer lower prices. Usually, members will volunteer their time and services and perform necessary duties within the store. As a result, food co-ops can offer their goods at much lower prices because they don’t have to pay a salary to employees.
Essentially, food co-ops are out to serve the needs of their members. They aren’t concerned with turning a huge profit or pleasing stock holders. This allows them to offer savings on the food their customers are demanding, which in most cases, is for natural or organic foods. Shopping in a co-op is also a great alternative to more expensive specialty and health food stores like Whole Foods.
Another benefit of shopping in food-cooperatives is they can often provide goods in bulk. Dry items like coffee, flour, rice, pasta, etc. can be purchased by customers in large quantities. Having bulk amounts of your favorite foods on hand is a great way to ensure you are never out of your favorite meal staples. Usually bulk food is sold by the pound, so customers can take as much as they need. In eliminating the need for extra packaging or shipping, you are lowering the overall price of the item.
Often, members come together to vote on things like remodeling plans, what can be provided in store, membership requirements, etc. In some cases, they will decide to trade goods for services for lower income families. The overall goal is to offer health foods to everyone at affordable prices while ensuring everything is run in a fair and democratic way.