Over the last few months we have looked at food, with some attention paid to food co-ops ( Food co-ops can provide savings of 20-40%, yet they can also cost more than other options, depending on how they are run. Food co-ops can put local produce, including organic produce within reach of a larger spectrum of consumers. Yet as the article below points out, organic food is not as black and white as some believe.

A key divider among food co-ops at least in the United States is whether or not they require members to work in them. Central Co-op, based in Seattle, WA does not require work by members, and instead relies primarily on paid staff; the starting wage at Central Coop for paid staff is a minimum of $15/hour. At Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn, NY, one of the oldest and largest co-ops in the country, the majority of the work is done by members required to work; the starting wage for paid staff is $27/hour.

Comparing co-ops selling produce roughly 3,000 miles (5,000 km) apart is fraught with problems, but you can at least get some idea of differences in price between the two models of co-ops. To get an idea of Central Co-op prices, you can view on instacart ( To get an idea of pricing for the Park Slope Food Co-op you can check out their produce price list online (

Food co-ops can be the least expensive option for buying food. If you are thinking about starting a co-op in your community, keep this in mind, many co-ops across the United States started as buying clubs. In some cases the clubs lasted several years before a permanent store was opened.
Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture
(16 minute read)

Yet in 2010, a mere eight years after USDA's regulations officially went into effect, organic foods and beverages made $26.7 billion. In the past year or two, certified organic sales have jumped to about $52 billion worldwide;despite the fact that organic foods cost up to three times as much as those produced by conventional methods. More and more, people are shelling out their hard-earned cash for what they believe are the best foods available. Imagine, people say: you can improve your nutrition while helping save the planet from the evils of conventional agriculture - a complete win-win. And who wouldn't buy organic, when it just sounds so good?
Christie Wilcox | Scientific American | 18 July 2011

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chris eberhardt

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