Shop Smarter - Virginia Co-op Guide

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Find a Local Co-op in Virginia

What is a Co-op?

Virginia co-ops, also known as cooperatives, are local companies that are owned and managed by the those who shop at them. They're a number of co-ops that offer either products or services and sometimes both. A few examples of Virginia co-ops include:

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

Virginia co-ops benefit the community by promoting the local economy and allowing customers a voice and direct control over the variety of products and services that are offered to buy. Also, because co-ops eliminate the middle man they are able to offer their members lower prices which is a big draw for many consumers.

 

What is a Virginia Food Co-op?

Food co-ops are mainly very small grocery stores and possibly the most common sort of cooperative. They are owned and operated by a group of people in the neighborhood which often includes local farmers. Usually Virginia food co-ops sell certified organic foods which are in season. Over the last several years more people have come to comprehend the benefits associated with organic food and the demand has increased. Food co-ops are an excellent selection for shoppers that need to find organic food at less expensive prices.

You can become a member of a food co-op in Virginia by paying a membership fee which provides you all the benefits and advantages of being a member of the co-op. The membership fee varies depending upon the co-op but it will be set low enough allowing its members to recoup the fee through the reasonable food prices. Membership in a Virginia food co-op also allows you to have a say in how the co-op is monitored.

The members of a Virginia co-op are equal members and make the decisions regarding what kinds of food their co-op will carry and sell to the co-op members and the community. This permits everyone to feel like they are contributing equally. In addition it encourages democracy and community togetherness because members need to come together and combine their resources to achieve success.

If you need organic food and products at a good price and also help your community then you should look into joining your local food co-op. It's a good way to familiarize yourself with 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 in Virginia

As stated above, one of the biggest benefits of Virginia food co-ops are that they help to lower the price of organic foods and produce. People require proper nutrition in order to stay healthy. Food co-ops in Virginia offer many different types of organic food that help encourage beneficial 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 through the state. Many people don't realize how much it affects all of our lives. Increasingly more 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 fruit and veggies, this lessens 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 standard of living for everyone in the surrounding area.

Community Improvement Though Virginia Co-ops

Virginia 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.

Virginia co-ops help local farmers and merchants because they put focus on buying goods and services from others in the community. They promote local businesses 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.