What exactly is a Food Co-op and How Do You Find One

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I keep hearing about those of you who purchase your food from food co-ops. What exactly is a food co-op, how do you locate one, and how do you join?

-- Karen (mountains_mama2@hotmail.com), April 22, 2002


Karen, I belong to a natural food co-op. There are about 10 families that belong and two ladies from the group take the orders, handle the money and go to the pick up site to get the items. We all pick up our purchases at their homes. Our supplier is Tuson (AZ) Cooperative Warehouse. You can find them at www.tcwfoodcoop.com. We live in CO but they have a delivery site by Denver. TCW has a catalogue they send out every month and we order from it.

Now for you to find one close to you, I would suggest asking your local health food store, because they most likely purchase from such a place. Maybe even TCW might know of a Warehouse near you.

We started ours among friends and family, because most co-ops have a minimun of $200 or more dollars per order and you must place an order regularly. Hope this helps.

-- Marilyn in CO (www.tomeatbeef@aol.com), April 22, 2002.

Here in Norhtern Minnesota we have food coops, agriculture coops, phone coops, electric coops. When I say food coop I am basically meaning a healthfood store. Our local food coop is a store, a grocery store. any one can shop there but generally if you are a member you get some sort of a discount. My old coop had a one year membership of $5.00. Everything in the store was marked (priced) at cost. When you checked out if you were a member you had 10% over cost added to your total, if you were a working member (volunteer) you only had 5% over cost added, if you were not a member you paid 30% over cost. Even at 30% over cost it is still cheaper than most grocery stores especially on bulk items. Down in the Cities the coops are huge, like a major grocery store chain, but they stilloperate in the same way. Some of them have stock certificates and you get dividend at the end of the year. Each one is a little different so if you find on check it out. They can be very political too. Many of them I think have websites where you may be able to join and order online, but I'm not sure.


-- Susan in MN (nanaboo@paulbunyan.net), April 22, 2002.

http://www.ozarkcoop.com/ This is the one that I am a member of. You can check out their website to see if they deliver in your area.

-- Jodie (stanchnmotion@yahoo.com), April 23, 2002.

In the Countryside archives, there's a least one thred on food co- ops. Names and addresses, such as FORC, Frontier, North Farms, Country Life/Something Better. Frontier has a website an dis ocncerned with herbs, shampoos, vitamins etc. In most co-ops you join and pay a mark-up. There's different set-ups. I'm rarely disappointed what I get from them.

-- Cindy (S.E.IN) (atilrthehony_1@yahoo.com), April 23, 2002.

Karen- aren't you somewhere in western VA? I run a co-op out of our church, we are located in Rocky Mount VA. Write if you are interested. There is no mark-up on the bulk food, it's just a bunch of us that wanted to buy food inexpensively.

-- Lynelle SOwestVA (X2ldp@aol.com), April 23, 2002.

Yes, Lynelle. I am near Wytheville. I think I know about where Rocky Mount is, but the mountains are high there aren't they? Believe it or not, here I am living in mountains and they just scare me to death and I absolutely HATE driving in them. I think they are beatiful and can stand on the ground and be fine, but let me get in a car and I hang on for dear life...go figure! I think I must be the only one in the world scared of mountains. I keep wondering where that came from?

-- Karen (mountains_mama@hotmail.com), April 23, 2002.

For those of you in the midwest, you can order through Country Life Natural Foods in Michigan. With a minimum order of $350.00, they will deliver the order via their trucks at no extra charge. They have all the bulk grains, beans, nuts, etc. that health food stores carry and also carry products like packaged Mori-Nu tofu, juices, snacks, dried fruits. I order with several other families, then pick it up and pay whomever has placed the order for us. We love their foods! I believe their website is http://www.clnf.org.

-- Kris in Wisc (kkwoestman@yahoo.com), April 23, 2002.

i don't know about you, but i'm all about costco!!!! (formerly price club). hehe.

-- C (punk_chicadee@yahoo.com), April 25, 2002.

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