Food cooperatives and food buying groups are not a new phenomena, in fact, the first recognised food cooperative was established in the 19th century by a group of industrial weavers in Rochdale, England. By the 1970's, however, food cooperatives became much more organised and placed greater emphasis on ethical food production and resisting the ever increasing corporate monopoly over the supply and distribution of food.
Nevertheless, since the 1970's, the numbers of food coops and buying groups have fluctuated enormously. Notably, during periods of economic stagnation and social uncertainty, food buying groups and coops tend to increase, as discussed by Hoyt (1982)
" Consumers’ interest and participation in retail food cooperatives tends to increase in periods of social, political, and economic turmoil. Although their secondary needs may vary considerably, cooperative members consistently want their cooperatives to provide price, quality, and selection advantages. Growth periods also occur when large numbers of consumers experience economic difficulties and develop an interest in ownership and control of their retail food sources when they become concerned for food safety and when they experience a strong desire for an ethical society."
Thank you, Mike.
I agree and I can see food cooperatives growing rapidly in the future.
Thanks for commenting.
Food cooperatives is such an interesting concept. Apart from products being fresh or cost reducing it is also important since you can control the quality of the products you consume making sure they are chemical free and so on. Great page that brings into our attention this significant issue.
I think people long for the days when we could buy fruit and vegetables that really were fresh and hadn't been transported for hundreds of miles before they reached us. I think, amongst other things, that that's why food coops are increasing in many areas. Fresh food grown locally seems to be what people really want. Thanks for stopping by. :)
That's really encouraging, and it's obviously better for local food producers when it's their products which are being promoted, providing of course the supermarkets pay a fair price for the food. Also better for consumers, the food is fresher and hasn't spent days on end in transit.
Here in Romania something akin to food coops are both regulated and encouraged by the state. There are smaller and larger farmers' markets everywhere. Even some supermarkets buy from local producers. I see this trend and it's encouraging. It's rather new. I mean, there have always been farmers' markets but supermarkets started promoting Romanian produce and dairy products only recently. And as far as dairy products go, there's great variety too!
I think farmers markets are excellent, there's four different markets on consecutive Sundays in the areas surrounding where I live (although not in my town, unfortunately) I'd definitely check out the food coops if I were you, Arlene. You'll find more varied products, not just the major brands like you find in supermarkets, and you'll be supporting local enterprise.
I also love the community minded approach and the concept of helping each other at a local level. Just the fact that there are so many volunteers who sacrifice their spare time for the benefit of their neighbours says quite a lot about the ethos behind food coops.
I agree that people who are struggling financially have fewer options, and they are also the people who later become captive shoppers, paying even more for groceries than people who are better off. I was also reading that there has been a number of food coops which have been established on council estates and in more deprived areas, apparently, and due to their success, they are growing in number and starting to take increasing amounts of business from the supermarkets. Quite encouraging!
I love this concept, thanks for bringing it to the forefront. :)K
I shop at farm stands and farmers markets as much as I can, but they are not cheap. I also like the local organic grocer - not cheap either. If I had to feed a family, I certainly couldn't shop there. I will be looking into this.