Shop Smarter - Co-op Guide

Finding a Local Co-op Near You

What is a Co-op?

Co-ops, also called cooperatives, are local companies that are owned and run by the people who shop at them. They're various kinds of co-ops that offer either goods or services and frequently both. Examples of co-ops include:

  • Food Co-ops
  • Marketing Co-ops
  • Service Co-Ops
  • Purchasing Co-ops

Co-ops benefit the community by promoting the local economy and giving consumers a voice and direct control over the selection of goods and services that are available to buy. Also, because co-ops cut out the middle man they can offer their members less expensive costs which is a big draw for many consumers.

 

What is a Food Co-op?

Food co-ops are mainly very small grocery stores and possibly the most typical sort of cooperative. They're owned and managed by a group of people in the community which often includes local farmers. Usually food co-ops sell natural and organic foods that are in season. Over the past few years more people have come to comprehend the advantages of organic food and the demand has increased. Food co-ops are a fantastic selection for shoppers that need to find organic food at less costly prices.

You can become a member of a food co-op by paying a membership fee which provides you all the benefits and features of being a member of the co-op. The membership fee varies with respect to the co-op but it will be set low enough to allow its members to recover the cost through the reasonable food prices. Membership in a food co-op also allows you to have a say in how the co-op is monitored.

The members of a co-op are equal members and make the decisions pertaining to what kinds of food their co-op will carry and sell to the co-op members and the community. This enables everyone to feel like they are contributing equally. It also encourages democracy and community togetherness because members need to come together and combine their resources to be a success.

If you need organic food and products at a bargain price and also assist your community then you should look into joining your local food co-op. It's a great way to get to know members of your community and become interested in helping your community have great food at good prices.


Better Prices on Organic Food and More at Co-ops

As mentioned above, one of the greatest features of food co-ops are that they help to lower the cost of organic foods and produce. People require proper nutrition to be able to stay healthy. Food co-ops supply many different kinds of organic food that help promote excellent nutrition and healthy eating habits in general. This has a ripple effect which leads to other good changes in the community.

If people are healthier then health care costs are lower which helps the economy. Obesity is a huge problem throughout the state. Many people don't realize how much it affects all of our lives. A growing number of children are developing diabetes as younger ages because of poor diets. This eating habits are being passed down generation after generation. Even our national security has suffered because obesity has negatively impacted military recruitment. A food co-op helps to alleviate this problem by offering affordable organic food and products at very reasonable prices. This means that people do not have to turn to junk food in order to save money on their grocery bills.

The environment can also be helped by a food co-op. Many farmers use harmful pesticides and chemicals when they grow their food. These chemicals seep into the soil and eventually get in to the water supply. By growing organic fruits and vegetables, this reduces some of the damage that would have been done in order to grow that vegetables and fruits. If people are supporting their local organic farmers more people will have a stake in creating a clean environment which improves quality of life for everyone in the surrounding area.

Community Improvement Though Co-ops

Co-ops help to bring people together. A community is only as strong as its citizens and a co-op is only successful if its members cooperate and work together in order to make their venture thrive. Members have an equal say and must focus on how to build the co-op and help to produce enough products to feed and serve as many people as possible.

Co-ops help local farmers and merchants because they put focus on buying products or services from others in the community. They promote local companies that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Anyone in the community can usually shop at a co-op even if they are not a member but typically the co-op offers better benefits and discounts to its members because they pay a membership fee. Regardless this means that local farmers and merchants will have more business from not only the co-op members but also everyone in the local community.