Shop Smarter - Illinois Co-op Guide

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Find a Local Co-op in Illinois

What is a Co-op?

Illinois co-ops, also called cooperatives, are local businesses that are owned and managed by the people who shop at them. They are many types of co-ops that provide either products or services and frequently both. Some examples of Illinois co-ops include:

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

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

 

What is a Illinois Food Co-op?

Food co-ops are mainly very small grocery stores and maybe the most common type of cooperative. They are owned and operated by a group of people in the neighborhood which usually includes local farmers. Much of the time Illinois food co-ops sell organic and natural foods which are in season. During the last several years more and more people have begun to comprehend the benefits of organic food and the demand has increased. Food co-ops are a fantastic option for shoppers that are looking for organic food at less costly prices.

You can become a member of a food co-op in Illinois by paying a membership fee which gives you all the benefits and advantages of being a member of the co-op. The membership fee varies depending on the co-op but it will be set low enough allowing its members to reclaim the cost by way of the affordable food prices. Membership in a Illinois food co-op also enables you to have a say in how the co-op is monitored.

The members of a Illinois 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 want organic food and products at a bargain price and want to assist your community then you need to look into joining your local food co-op. It's a great way to become familiar with members of your community and be involved with helping your community have great food at good prices.

 

Better Prices on Organic Food and More at Co-ops in Illinois

As mentioned above, one of the greatest benefits of Illinois food co-ops are that they help to lower the price of organic foods and produce. People require proper nutrition to be able to remain healthy. Food co-ops in Illinois provide many different types of organic food that really help promote good nutrition and healthy eating habits in general. This has a ripple effect which leads to other positive changes in the community.

If people are healthier then health care costs are lower which helps the economy. Obesity is a huge problem through 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. Which 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 vegetables and fruit, this lowers 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 Illinois Co-ops

Illinois 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.

Illinois co-ops help local farmers and merchants because they put focus on buying goods and 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.