Do you get your groceries at a co-op?

Mehdi Kennar, a floor supervisor at the Seward Co-op, hands a shopper her groceries Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

“The Seward Co-op isn’t alone in its plans to add a new location to meet rising demand. Many of the cooperative groceries in the Twin Cities are planning expansions or additional locations. Powered by consumer demand for organic and natural foods, it’s a strong comeback for an industry whose future was shaky just a decade ago,” writes MPR News reporter Jon Collins.

Minnesota has a long history with agricultural cooperatives. But the first of the “new wave” grocery co-ops in the state had its start on the back porch of a house in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis in 1970.

Craig Cox, author of “Storefront Revolution,” which documented the area’s cooperative movement, said the handful of people who founded the so-called People’s Pantry learned how to buy bulk food directly from farmers while living on a commune in central Minnesota.

“They saw that as a way to live very cheaply and to control their destiny in a way,” Cox said. “They started putting sacks of grain on the back porch of a house and people just showed up and paid some money.”

Today’s Question: Do you get your groceries at a co-op?

  • AndyBriebart

    I can’t afford to shop at co-ops.

    • Bill

      I can’t afford to shop at Wal Mart.
      I work at Wal Mart.

    • Geoff

      I bought all my groceries at a co-op on a $19K a year wage for 7 years.
      Food is only as affordable as the products and lifestyle you choose.

      • AndyBriebart

        That’s right. And I don’t choose that lifestyle.

        • Joe

          Misinterpreting the definition of the word afford is not a lifestyle, it’s just called illiteracy.

  • Alyssa

    I buy as many of my groceries from a co-op as I can!

  • reggie

    Right now we’re probably buying about 2/3 of our food at the local co-op. That goes down a little in the summer, when we have a half share in a CSA with which we can barely keep up. We could probably up the percentage to 75-80% without undue effort, but there are some things we’d rather buy at Shang-Hur, Coastal Seafood, Breadsmith, or any number of specialty retailers.

    Unlike Mr. Briebart, we can’t afford NOT to shop at co-ops. They pay employees living wages, they emphasize healthful products, fair trade, and being as local as is practical. That’s the way sustainable commerce is going to have to go. The commercial-organic produce available at WalMart and Target is better than the highly chemical products it is replacing, but too much of the mass market retail sector is engaged in a race to the bottom that is unhealthy for people and for the economy.

    (PS to Mr. Olson: why has TQ been so erratic lately? It would be nice to have a daily question, posted early, or at least consistently.)

  • Erik

    Yes, the co-op is the closest food store to us and we love it! We also shop at Costco, for “staple” items and for stuff we use most often.

  • Ralpy

    I try to support the locally owned businesses in my neighborhood as much as I can. I am fortunate that we have 4 bakeries, a butcher shop, 2 small grocery stores and 2 full sized grocery stores, and a co-op all within a 10 block radius. The quality is high, the service is spot-on and the prices are fair. The owners, management and employees are all neighborhood residents, and it is nice to shop where they care about you and I about them, as people, not transactions.

  • Pearly

    lol. No

  • Bill

    Land O Lakes is a co-op

  • KTN

    I’m gluten intolerant intolerant, so no.

    • jamie

      Is that like being with the Department of Redundancy Department?

    • Boonay

      Co-ops have a wealth of gluten free options in regards to processed foods – they also have (SURPRISE!) fruits and vegetables which also do not contain gluten.

      • KTN

        I was being ironical, and saying that I’m intolerant of those who are gluten (lactose too) intolerant. Co-ops cater to those with made up diseases.

  • Bill

    The best groceries to buy at coops are chickens and eggs.

  • MN.LOCAL2014

    I love the Wedge and I love the Seward. I wish I could afford to shop more often at both these Grocery Stores.