I happened to come across a Facebook page called the Oak Park Food Co-op and it piqued my curiosity. 

I'm not exactly sure what a food co-op entails, but they have one in Logan Square called the Dill Pickle. Based on what I was able to figure out from some of the articles I read, it's a community owned grocery store. It sounds like an interesting concept, but given that Oak Park has tons of grocery options already, is the feel-good factor enough to make something like this succeed?

What do you guys think of the idea of a food co-op in Oak Park and do you think it would do well our village despite the stiff competition for our grocery dollars? 

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Comment by Becca on May 9, 2012 at 9:51pm

Saw this in the Green Community Connections e-mail newsletter and thought I would share: http://greencommunityconnections.org/the-sugar-beet-a-new-kind-loca...

Comment by susan on February 14, 2012 at 10:22am
There are two food co-ops that I know of currently on the op area. One is called lug and carry and is affiliated with unfi. The other is a dairy and meat co-op that is organized by a friend in Austin.
Comment by Suzen X Riley on February 13, 2012 at 2:03pm

That sounds fantastic. Low cost would be important. I pretty much shop only a Trader Joes now. I plan to start using the Fresh Moves again soon. I only shop for me and am limited by funds and my knowledge of how to cook certain foods. For eg I have never cooked fish because it scares me. One has to be very careful and exact. I forget too much. I only eat tuna fish sandwiches.

Comment by Cheryl Muñoz on February 13, 2012 at 1:55pm

Suzen, you are exactly right.  One of our goals is to have a retail space that will serve many uses.  One of the uses might be a pick-up place for Oak Parkers to get their weekly CSA deliveries.  So, you might walk to the Oak Park Food Co-op (I am sure there will be a catchier name) to pick-up your produce share from a local farmer, or your egg/ meat share from a local farm.  While you are in the store you see some bulk black beans and pick-up quarts of homemade stock and some parsley grown in a neighbor's yard.  You have what you need to make dinner.   We are just throwing around ideas at this point...what would your dream co-op include?

Comment by Suzen X Riley on February 13, 2012 at 11:31am

Actually there is a difference between a CSA - Community - Supported (shared) Agriculture and a Co-Op. The CSA is rather basic and easy to understand on the other hand Co-Ops are not. They are often complex so I am adding a link to describe them. Basically Co-Ops community run grocery stores. are http://www.coopdirectory.org/index.htm#What%20is%20a%20Co-op?

Comment by Paul Zimmermann on February 13, 2012 at 9:08am

Hi Cheryl- Would love to talk to you about his off the comment link. Friend me on fb and we can connect that way. Look forward to hearing from you.

Comment by Cheryl Muñoz on February 13, 2012 at 8:54am
Hi, Paul Zimmerman. Thanks for your comment and enthusiasm. We have friends who have been working to build the Dill Pickle co-op (in Logan Square) and they have volunteered to mentor us. Paul, what do you remember about your co-op experience in Park Slope? Do you want to help start one in OP? I am one if the folks trying to get this off the ground and we are gathering info and public opinion to guide us. Your 2 cents will be your first investment!
Comment by Paul Zimmermann on February 12, 2012 at 10:25pm

A food coop in Oak Park would be absolutely fantastic! If you haven't already, you should reach out to the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn, NY to talk to them about getting started and best practices for success. They are an incredible org. that I was lucky enough to be a part of. I'm very excited by the prospect of this becoming a reality. It will be a lot of work but very rewarding and I believe it could be very successful.

Comment by Jenny Jocks Stelzer on February 11, 2012 at 9:27am
Suzen, thanks for sharing this co-op feedback! A major aspect of our plan is to establish a space that operates like a new kind of "Corner Store," where you'll have much more flexibility in when you can pick up your share, plus, you'll be able to grab a few more local, sustainable food-things at the same place to round out a lovely meal. We will definitely note your point about the amount of food in the share, and, establishing a strong relationship with the Farmers Market to support low income people have access to affordable, healthy, local food is of great importance to us!
Comment by Suzen X Riley on February 10, 2012 at 10:36pm

The only problem that I have seen with co-ops is the amount of food that many require the person to purchase at one time. Also they want the person to pick up the groceries at often very inconvenient locations and times. Also one is just stuck with whatever vegetables/fruits in season.

This last summer was the first summer that the Oak Park Farmers Market reached out to low income people. There was a grant that matched up to $20 of groceries that was spent using the LINK card. That was amazing! i ate tons of vegetables last summer.


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