By Brittany Barton for Change Food
Food cooperatives impact communities in ways that go beyond food. Right now, over 45,000 co-ops in the country are providing low cost, healthy food to its members. These stores are community-run businesses based on the cooperative principles that each member has a voice in decisions regarding the production and distribution of its food.
One example is The Seward Community Co-op; created in 1972, it remains a staple in its Minneapolis neighborhood. So much so that they have opened a second location, named the Friendship Store. Friend of Change Food and former TEDxManhattan speaker LaDonna Redmond is a key player in it’s creation. The store is located in the Bryant-Central neighborhood, a predominantly African American community that has been without a full service grocery for over 30 years.
Over five hundred Co-op owners joined the Friendship store within the first week. “People are ready,” says Redmond. The store offers quality food and quality jobs, with 50 percent of employees living less than a mile from the store. This is a huge advantage for a community that struggles with employment discrimination. Co-op employees are provided benefits, insurance and paid $15 an hour.