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The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants
Food has become ground-zero in our efforts to increase awareness of how our choices impact the world. Yet while we have begun to transform our communities and dinner plates, the most authoritative strand of the food web has received surprisingly little attention: the grocery store—the epicenter of our food-gathering ritual.
Through penetrating analysis and inspiring stories and examples of American and Canadian food co-ops, Grocery Story makes a compelling case for the transformation of the grocery store aisles as the emerging frontier in the local and good food movements. Author Jon Steinman:
- Deconstructs the food retail sector and the shadows cast by corporate giants
- Makes the case for food co-ops as an alternative
- Shows how co-ops spur the creation of local food-based economies and enhance low-income food access.
Grocery Story is for everyone who eats. Whether you strive to eat more local and sustainable food, or are in support of community economic development, Grocery Story will leave you hungry to join the food co-op movement in your own community.
Jon Steinman is the producer and host of Deconstructing Dinner, the internationally syndicated radio show and podcast and streaming television series. Jon coordinates and curates the annual Deconstructing Dinner Film Festival and was an elected director from 2006-2016 of the Kootenay Co-op — Canada's largest independent retail consumer food co-op — serving as Board President from 2014-2016. He lives in Nelson, BC.
"A great read! Full of energy and eyes-wide-open hope. In an era of extreme economic concentration, Jon Steinman awakens us to elements of an arising democratic economy, hidden in plain sight. Grocery Story is, above all, an empowering tale we need now more than ever."
Frances Moore Lappé, author, Diet for a Small Planet and Daring Democracy
"Wake up folks! Co-ops are cool. They bring power back to conscious citizenship. Co-ops are democracy at work in an age calling out for common sense."
Joel Solomon, co-author, The Clean Money Revolution
"Steinman skillfully blends the history of food retailing with contemporary examples to explain how cooperative food stores consistently have served as a principled alternative and moderating influence on corporate consolidation of food retailing in North America."
John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia
"An important consideration of the impact that can happen when going to the grocery store becomes an activity and not a chore, an" when a grocery cart can ultimately become a vehicle for social change."
Melissa Cohen, General Manager, Isla Vista Food Co-op
"On par with many of the other food books that have inspired me — Diet for a Dead Planet, Food Politics, Slow Money, Stolen Harvest, Fast Food Nation, Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food."
Ari Derfel, General Manager, Kootenay Co-op, past Executive Director, Slow Money, and cofounder, Gather Restaurant
"Explores how capitalism distorts the food system from farm to plate. A pleasure to read and is crammed with valuable information, stories and analysis. If you eat, you should give this book a read."
Tom Webb, author, From Corporate Globalization to Global Co-operation and president, Global Co-operation
"An impressive synthesis of critical analysis of systemic societal ills and a very practical "how-to" manual on how to address them. This is literally the best thing I've read about cooperatives, monopolization / oligopolization, and the industrial food system in ages."
Christopher DeAngelis, Food Co-op Manager (formerly Apple Street Market Cooperative, Mariposa Food Co-op)
"Presents a clear and engaging historical perspective on the evolution of our food co-ops and illustrates the many benefits that they offe" their owners and customers by sharing the stories of co-ops today. Grocery Story should be required reading for anyone helping to organize a new food co-op and everyone who cares at all about their food."
Stuart Reid, Executive Director, Food Co-op Initiative / Past General Manager, Just Food Co-op and Seward Co-op
"Steinman shows us we can confront the power of food retailers and create an inclusive, health promoting, and sustainable food system."
Rod MacRae, Associate Professor, York University
"It's worth studying the history of how and why food co-ops formed as a model to ensure continuing access and authenticity in an alternative local and organic food supply."
Mark Kastel, Cornucopia Institute
"Not just a "must-read" for advocates and participants of the local food movement, it is a "must-implement" to pave the way toward a sustainable and just food system for us all."
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