What is the difference between a food co-op and a conventional grocery store?
Both stores are open to the public and offer a full range of services to their customers, including bakery, meat, deli, etc.
The major difference is that a food co-op is not owned by a corporation, or by a couple of investors. A food co-op is literally owned by several hundred, or even thousands of households just like mine and yours. We invest the same amount of money, and we share in the profits of the store.
This allows us to do many things, including whatever community involvement we want, decide how we want our food sourced, create food standards for the foods we sell (for example, we can elect not to sell foods with high-fructose-corn-syrup, or GMOs). Our owners all have the right to be a part of the governance of the store, as well.
For the customer walking in off the street, they will see a beautiful grocery store with locally sourced foods, local art on the wall, and their friends and neighbors shopping, and co-owning with them. They’ll see community outreach, classes, and collaborations that strengthen the local food system in Kitsap County as well as provide sustainable jobs with living wages and fair benefits, that are structured around caring for the employees.
Have you been to PCC in Seattle, Olympia Food Co-op, or to the Port Townsend Food Co-op? These are great local examples of what a food co-op can look like.
KCFC Board President