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by Suzanne Adams
West Chester, Pa. – Community members have been volunteering their time to organize, plan, and build a member-owned (cooperative) grocery store in West Chester. Residents see many benefits to a community owned store, including more transparency and security in their food supply, convenient access at fair prices to the foods and other products that they prefer, the ability to support local food producers and the local economy, and the opportunity to build community through cooperation, education, and care for others.
Food co-ops are member owned and controlled and membership is open to all. While the store will be open to the public, the members will determine the direction and development of the store and its services. Co-ops encourage member participation and feedback, and operate to meet member determined goals. The growing food co-op movement is making it possible for consumers to take back control of their food supply.
The West Chester Food Co-op is expected to expand the market for locally produced food. Organizers have reached out to the producers at the West Chester Grower’s Market and hope to offer new opportunities for these and other local producers to reach consumers. Food Co-ops typically form close and mutually beneficial relationships with producers as well as with the community at large, where they have historically supported efforts at hunger relief, nutrition education, environmental protection, and other causes of benefit to the community.
Building membership is critical to the success of the West Chester Food Co-op. If you would like to participate in this start-up venture, or just want to stay informed of the co-op’s progress, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.