Paso Robles Food Cooperative Seeks New Members

Paso Robles Food Cooperative, now over 130 members strong, seeks additional members to help establish a brick-and-mortar market in Paso Robles to provide fresh food and create nutritionally and economically strong communities in a responsibly stewarded environment.

Paso Food Co-op benefits

Each member is an owner and eligible to reap product discounts. Money spent at the co-op helps build the community by supporting local, sustainable food production. Local purchasing and management also enables higher wages than a conventional store.

Food choices are available to meet everyone’s needs: organic, grass-fed, GMO-free, biodynamic and raw, vegan, and gluten-free. Education and cooking classes are also an integral part of the practice, which helps people improve their own health and enhance an overall quality of life.

Existing co-ops

Cooperatives come in many familiar forms. Several local examples are: Farm Supply, Miner’s ACE and Blake’s TrueValue hardware stores, and federal credit unions. Other storefronts include Gina’s Natural Elements, Spice of Life, and Olive Diva.

Nationwide success

There are 1.3 million food co-op members across America. The statistics impress: 89% of meat sold is sustainably raised, 82% of the produce sold is organically grown and 74% of food waste is recycled. The average co-op purchases from 51 local farms and 106 local producers.

Consumer-owned co-ops work with 157 local farmers/producers, carry three times as much locally-sourced products, donate three times as much annual income to charity than conventional grocers, and pay their employees higher wages and benefits than conventional stores. Thirty-eight percent of co-op revenue is spent locally, versus 24 percent of conventionally-owned stores. For every $1,000 spent at a food co-op, more than $1,600 is generated in the local economy, or 1.5 times than a regular store.

What’s next for Paso Food Co-op?

Throughout December, the co-op is promoting vendors of gifts in its “Buy Local” challenge to support local members. Interested businesses can contact the co-op directly at 727-3745.

The first 200 Founding Members who join the Paso Food Co-op will have their names displayed on a plaque inside the store, but every member has an equal voice to help decide how the co-op is organized and managed. A one-time membership is $300, which can also be paid in $25 monthly installments.

Run by volunteers, help is always welcome at the co-op. Among their goals is to provide a meeting space in which to hold classes, events and even a little café. To learn more, visit ncg.coop/what-co-op and pasofoodcooperative.com.