Our newsletter is called "Public Research" and we make public what we do and do not know. In a series of upcoming newsletters, we look at food co-ops. In future newsletters we hope to dive deeper into the debate about work requirements, and whether or not food co-ops are not just an appealing option for some consumers but also the farmer. Here is an article that helps introduce the landscape:

(36 minute read)
In this article Andrew Zitcer is first and foremost responding to the Geography community by employing ethnographic methods to engage with existing literature regarding ethical consumption and specifically food co-ops. The site of his research is two food co-ops in Philadelphia, PA, Weavers Way and Mariposa. Arguably one of the drawbacks of this research when looking at the bigger picture of food co-ops, is that neither one of these co-ops has required a work shift since 2010. The two co-ops examined in this study emerged in what Zitcer calls the “New wave” period of the 1960’s and 1970’s; coming before the Community Supported Agriculture model that took off in the 1970’s and the 1980’s.

These days, the speciality goods and prices seem to show a discontent from the affordable food ethos of when these co-ops were founded. There is the anecdotal note that in the days of work shifts prices were lower, but there is no firm data. These stores have struggled to reflect the racial diversity of their neighborhoods, yet have been more successful in reflecting the different genders of the neighborhood. The author concludes by arguing that even with the challenges of exclusivity, there are still educational, economic and democratic processes present that will not be found at a commercial grocery store.
Andrew Zitcer | Antipode | 14 November 2014

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chris eberhardt

co-founder of

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