What exactly are they? I can't seem to find out on my own. They're supposed to help with some food costs, but I'm not even show how they work or how I find one. Can anyone offer any insight? Thanks, I appreciate it.
In the most general sense, a co-op is a group of people who get together to create shared buying power when ordering food and other items that might normally not be available in the local supermarket.<br><br><br><br>
In Boise, the co-op has a storefront, roughly the size of an older supermarket, and it is full of food, mostly organic, household cleaners and cosmetics that have not been tested on animals, and miscellaneous other household products. The items carried in my co-op are mostly left to the discretion of the area manager, but member input is welcomed and taken into account, and I can always special order items as long as the co-op has a relationship with the distributor of the item in question. For instance, my co-op sells vegetarian dog food, but only in seven pound bags. So I special order 20 pound bags.<br><br><br><br>
Many co-ops in mid to large size cities also have store fronts. Where my mom lives in rural Northern California, there is a small health food store, and they are the central ordering point for that rural co-op. People order out of the co-op's catalog, and when the order is big enough, it is sent off to the distributor.
The co-ops I've been part of don't have a store front. They met in a church or other organization that was willing to let us in once a month.<br><br><br><br>
I don't know if FORC even exists anymore. To find out what co-ops are in your area, ask at your local health food store. I doubt the Chamber of Commerce would know, but it's worth a shot stopping in there.
i found this co-operative food store in texas.<br><br><br><br><a href="http://wheatsville.coop/index.html" target="_blank">http://wheatsville.coop/index.html</a><br><br><br><br>
i know texas is a big place, lol, so it might not exactly be somehwere that is closeby, but its quite a good website, as it explains co-ops, and gives a nice general overview, from what i read - hope it helps a bit.
I belong to a co-op. <a href="http://www.honestweight.coop/" target="_blank">http://www.honestweight.coop/</a><br><br>
They sell a lot of natural and locally produced foods, as well as fair trade sorts of foods and and other housewares, health and beauty aids. They also hold community things, like classes, free massages, craft fair, that sort of thing. It was $100 membership one time fee, and then a work option for discounts. Not working gets you a 2% discount, working 3 hrs/mo (for 1 adult, 4 hrs for 2 adults, etc..) gets you a 10% discount, and working 3 hrs/wk (which is what I do, or 4 hrs/wk for 2 adults, etc..) gets you a 26% discount, which is very very nice!
(*laughs at nigel*)<br><br><br><br>
My co-op has a store front as well. It's about 40 miles from my house - so not exactly "local" but I visit about once a month and stock up on some things...<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.olympiafood.coop/" target="_blank">http://www.olympiafood.coop/</a><br><br><br><br>
Membership is 20$ a year or some such and members get a discount on items. The first year I was unemployed when I joined and they waived the membership fee. That was cool.
Thanks for the info. I just kept hearing about co-ops and had no idea what the heck they were. I'll keep looking to see if there's one here in town (doubt it). Thanks, hoodedclawjen, for listing that one you found. It's a little over an hour away but I'm going to look at it more closely.
in my area, there is a child-care co-op. this is a group of moms who do yoga with me. the class is tuesday morning. there are 6 moms and 10 kids in the coop. each week, two moms keep watch over all 10 kids while the other 4 moms attend class. they rotate each week, so that they get 5 consecutive classes and 1 off. it works really well. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=""><br><br><br><br>
i considered starting a yoga co-op here as well where a group of us teachers got together to 'rent' a space and teach when we wanted, putting a certain amoutn into the budget and keeping the rest as income. but, it was too challenging to organize, so i bailed. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=""><br><br><br><br>
the local food coops are usually run through CSAs (community supported agriculture).
At the Boise co-op, membership is $65.00 lifetime, and members pay the marked prices. Non-members pay a 10% surcharge.<br><br><br><br>
Employee discounts are available, but only if you work there. They offer good wages, health benefits and I think they have a 401k. Most of the people who work there have worked there for a long time. They do not have a volunteer program because they have plenty of full-timers and plenty more people knocking down the door trying to get a job there.
When I was a kid, my mom would take my sisters and I to the co-op to help unload the truck and sort out the food. <i>I loved it.</i> I wasn't able to help by being the bookkeeper or ordering food, but I sure as heck could carry things around and compare labels.<br><br><br><br>
Maybe that's just me and my innate work ethic, but I really liked being useful. My mom nearly always ordered boring things from the co-op and never the snack foods, but that was OK. Once in awhile, if I helped this one woman enough, she would give me one of her frozen drinks or something else from her pile.<br><br><br><br>
It was just as fun to help everyone else. The worst part was waiting for the truck to come. Once we waited till midnight, and still no truck. This little bratty girl pranced around singing this stupid song she'd made up, getting on everyone's nerves. I'll never forget that evening. After that, I made sure to bring books and games in case the truck was late again.
Pixie, the co-op that hoodedclawjen linked to, Wheatsville, is AWWWWEEEESOME. It's the best natural foods store I've ever been to. They have products I can't find anywhere else in Austin or Dallas (I live in Dallas), and the best atmosphere out of any place too. People saying hi to each other, tons of bicycles parked out front. Although Wheatsville is about half the size of the average Whole Foods, it has a more convenient variety of products. I guess that's because it's shoppers have a direct hand in deciding what they carry. And more importantly, their hummus sandwich rocks my face off.<br><br><br><br>
I'm not a member just yet as I only see Austin about once a month and not long enough to grocery shop, but we are moving to Austin in three weeks and I'm joining Wheatsville ASAP.<br><br><br><br>
Let me know if you'd be interested in a Wheatsville field trip. I could show you some other vegetarian treasures around town too if you'd like. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="">
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