Vancouver BC's Food Co-ops Offer a Variety of Alternatives to the Corporate Capitalist Model

First off, the best food anybody anywhere can eat is organically grown food they themselves produce from their own sweat as close to their kitchen table as possible. More on this tomorrow. But for today The Mud Report will focus on some of the co-op alternatives to the corporate capitalist model available in the Vancouver BC area where many folks, including two of my kids, live in apartments, work full time and have no real access to the earth.

The NOWBC co-op offers an excellent online ordering and widespread distribution system with many depots throughout the greater Vancouver area. NOWBC is a small co-op formed in the fall of 2008, an idea spawned out of what was originally a buying club. It is a 50% volunteer run co-op working to bring food from local organic growers and producers to local organic eaters around Vancouver, BC. To start ordering from the  NOWBC co-op folks can either become a full-fledged member or open an online account.  This small initial cost, In either case, is totally refundable at any time.

Organiko is another, smaller, non-profit organic food co-op located in North Vancouver. Their sorting & pick up location is Agathe's carport - 583 Elstree Place - just a few minutes from Westview Plaza, east of Delbrook 6 blocks north of highway #1 in North Vancouver so they are obviously more convenient for north shore residents. Organiko is a true co-operative that relies on its members to perform the various tasks necessary to bring organic food to its member's tables. Members pay a surcharge of 5% that is redistributed at the end of each month to those who have been able to volunteer their time during that month.

The East End Food Co-op offers a different model in that they have a store located at 1034 Commercial Drive, between Parker & Napier Street in Vancouver that is open to everyone - no membership or account required. The East End Co-op was founded in 1975 and was initially a volunteer-run buying club in a warehouse location a bit like Organiko is now. The members of the East End Co-op own the store, may serve on the Board of Directors and committees, attend member meetings, give direction to the Co-op, and – of course! – shop at the store.

Then there's the Otter co-op in Aldergrove which is located at 3600 248 Street Aldergrove, BC. They've proudly been serving the whole community for 90 years and offer a huge range of goods from groceries to hardware to animal feeds to...well, just check out their website and you'll see just how wide ranging the co-op alternative to the corporate capitalist model can evolve to given enough time, space, energy and demand from the community.

Each of these alternatives started small and evolved to meet demand. This, along with hard work and dedication by their members of course, is the secret...demand leads every economic exchange. Successful alternatives to the large-scale corporate bank financed interest paying business model start small and grow in response to the demands of their community. Supply side economics is a lie, demand can be manipulated by slick advertising campaigns only as long as people have excess  disposable income - whereby they consume in accord with their wants instead of their needs. The sun is setting those days and those ways but it's rising on conscious consumers who are interested fulfilling their needs with healthy foods that increase their quality of life as well as that of the community they are immersed in.