Aug 19, 2012 | Alt-Market.com
This article was written by Jan Cho and originally published at Care2.com
The National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) released a new study, “Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: Measuring the Social and Economic Impact of Food Co-ops,” that compares how food co-ops and conventional grocery stores perform in five categories: Supporting Local Food Systems, Creating Quality Jobs, Local Economic Impact, Environmental Stewardship and Promoting Healthy & Sustainable Foods. Download the complete report here.
As described on the NCGA consumer website, “unlike their conventional counterparts, co-ops are owned and governed by member-shoppers and rooted in principles like community, voluntary and open membership, economic participation and cooperation. Because of these principles and practices, food co-ops inherently serve and benefit the communities where they are located.” (You don’t have to be a member to shop at a co-op, one of several myths that the NCGA works to dispel.)
The typical food co-op works with more than 150 individual local farmers and food producers, compared with 65 for the conventional grocery store. Co-ops source 45% of their meats from local farmers, against 5% for conventional stores. Thirty-five percent (35%) versus 3% of deli foods are sourced locally, 31% versus 9% of dairy and 20% versus 14% of produce. Also, 82% of produce sales at food co-ops are organic, compared with 12% for conventional grocery stores.