Urban Food Cooperatives

What is an Urban Food Cooperative?

At VASDC, we distinguish between two types of food/grocery cooperatives.  The urban food cooperative is located in a metropolitan area, usually with a university, and focuses on providing organic, locally sourced, non-GMO produce and dry goods. Residents of the area typically have above average income and education.   There are generally many alternative private grocery stores, such as Krogers, Walmart, or Hy-Vee, where residents can shop.

This food cooperative contrasts with the small town model that is explained here.  The small town cooperative provides basic grocery items to local residents and is likely the only option in the area for fresh produce and meats.  Rural residents are probably less concerned about the organic and non-GMO designation and, instead, simply want access to fresh produce and meats.  They are envision the grocery co-op as an important institution and economic driver for their small town.

The following urban food cooperatives are operating in Illinois:

Bloomington Green Top Grocery http://greentopgrocery.com/
Carbondale Neighborhood Co-op Grocery http://neighborhood.coop/
Chicago Chicago Market – A Community Co-op
Chicago Co-op Markets: Whole Health
Chicago Dill Pickle Food Co-op http://dillpickle.coop/
DeKalb Duck Soup Co-op http://www.ducksoupcoop.com/
Elgin Shared Harvest http://www.SharedHarvest.coop
Lombard Prairie Food Co-op http://www.prairiefood.coop
Matteson South Suburban Food Co-op
Oak Park The Sugar Beet http://www.sugarbeetcoop.com
Park Forest South Suburban Food Co-op
Urbana Common Ground Food Co-op http://commonground.coop/

Source:  Cooperative Grocery Network

A Challenging Environment for Urban Food Cooperatives



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