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ISBN: 9780865719071

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Grocery Story

The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Store 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.

Contributors

John Steinman

Jon Steinman is the producer and host of Deconstructing Dinner, the internationally syndicated radio show and podcast (2006-2010) 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.
Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price

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This chapter begins the description of the actions and tactics of "big food". The history of the A&P grocery retalier is described, as well as Piggly Wiggly, the first self-service … 15 $1.50

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This chapter describes retailer market power– current and historical– in the United States, as well as efforts to contain this power. The 1980s and the US Regan administration’s … 14 $1.40

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This chapter describes food prices and the effect on the people who grow our food. How is the price of food determined and how does it impact every other link in the food chain? How does market … 17 $1.70

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The anti-competetive business as usual practiced by Canada’s grocery giants and the testing of the boundaries of the law is described. Lost in this regime is flavour, genetic diversity, and … 25 $2.50

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This chapter describes alternative, viable, models for grocery stores and the "food shed" of local retailers and growers in Nelson, BC, and Viroqua, Wisconsin. The grocery store chains … 11 $1.10

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In this chapter the author describes the history of co-ops from 1761 in Scotland to the revival of community-owned grocery stores in the 1980s. The structure and types of co-ops, their … 13 $1.30

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This chapter describes Black American and working-class consumer co-ops founded in the 1930s Great Depression, many of which, resembling conventional grocery stores, are still in operation while … 18 $1.80

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The many facets and community-building features of consumer food co-ops today, from continuing and children’s education to community giving and non-profit arms are described. Also described … 28 $2.80

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This chapter describes the way chain stores are reluctant to establish or to continue serving low-income neighbourhoods, forcing residents to live in "food deserts", a mile for more … 14 $1.40

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This chapter describes the benefits of food co-ops to the local economy via the retention of profits, local supply chains, and the value of using the language of "economic development" … 18 $1.80

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Examples of local foodmakers and the pitfalls they experience in supplying grocery chains are described. The role of food co-ops as small business incubators and the fair dealiing policies co-ops … 16 $1.60

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The co-opting by grocery chains of co-op values as marketing strategies is described, as well as the challenges of the "cornucopia effect", caused by a dizzying variety of choice. The … 20 $2.00

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The Kootenay Co-op expansion to a new location is described through member loans and– a first in food co-op history– as a developer of Nelson Commons, residential units above the … 12 $1.20

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The author asserts that capitalist economies do not serve the food needs of entire nations, and that the co-operative model is the means through which public spaces like the food supply can … 3 $0.30