How we buy our food has drastically changed throughout the decades. We discuss the evolution of the grocery marketplace from local grocers to big-box retailers and how this has affected the production chain. More so, how food co-ops operate and aim to help support local farmers and communities.

Jerry Nash is the owner of the Prairie Food Co-op. Before moving to Chicago, Nash often shopped at the Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana, Illinois. When he moved, he was surprised at the lack of locally grown and sourced foods, and a lack of co-operative businesses in general. That sparked the idea of opening a co-op of his own, Prairie Food Co-op. Over 960 owners will have a share in this community-based marketplace, supporting local farmers and the community as a whole. Prairie Food Co-op is expected to open spring of 2021.

Jon Steinman is a journalist and author of Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants and he says that co-ops do much more than just selling groceries. In the United States, 40% of the food we buy is wasted which is not only bad for the environment but also wastes an astronomical amount of money used to produce that food. There are nearly 250 co-ops in the U.S combatting this problem by focusing on sustainability, cutting back on waste and by repurposing and giving food away to those in need.

To make a real impact, it takes people reevaluating the way they shop and switching to a more sustainable, community-based place to get groceries.


  • Jon Steinman, journalist and author, Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants
  • Jerry Nash, owner of Praire Food Co-op

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