Co-Op 101

Co-Op Shopping Guide

Once you get involved in co-op shopping, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it sooner. You can buy healthier food and other quality items at a considerable discount through co-op shopping, an alternative to traditional shopping that’s been quietly taking the world by storm, one local area at a time.

What it is

The “co-op” in co-op shopping is for cooperative, a co-op being a group of individuals who join forces for the benefit of each member and the whole group. In co-op shopping, that cooperative effort is directed at providing a more mutually equitable means of selling and buying goods.

How it Works

Many different co-ops exist throughout the country and the world, most of which are unaffiliated with one another. Yet all co-ops operate under similar principles, one of the most prevailing of which is shared ownership. All co-ops are owned by their members, be they workers or customers or both, with each member getting one equal vote in determining how the democratic body is organized and run.

What You Can Get

The most common type of co-op is a food co-op, with most focused on providing organic and/or locally-grown and produced food. In fact, one of the other ways besides being volunteer-run that co-ops help keep costs down is by purchasing much of their food items at a discount from local farms and producers. This is frequently referred to as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and a participating farm is called a CSA Farm. You can also buy other things at a co-op besides food and grocery items.

How to Shop the Co-Op

Your co-op is the best place to invest your food dollars. It’s where you’ll find the most healthful food, food in bulk, and local, ethically produced fare. To make the most of your shopping expedition:

  • Becoming a Member is great place to start! Allows you to take advantage of prices and information.
  • Special order case amounts of your favorite products at wholesale cost.
  • Stock up on -and canning or freezing- low priced seasonal produce when it’s harvested. Large quantities can be special ordered as well.
  • Meal plan using our weekly co-op sales flyer available on our website and in the store.
  • Use your co-op coupons!
  • Emphasize whole, natural foods rather than convenience foods. Packaging is expensive (for you and the environment).
  • Member-only monthly freebies  are available on products throughout the store.
  • Buying locally grown and produced goods cuts down on transportation costs, supports our local economy and food-shed, as well as, maximizes taste and nutrition with fresh, seasonal produce, meat and more.