Our Vision

An innovative grocery co-op, providing better food choices and education to our community.

  • Our Co-op shall be a democratically controlled grocery business owned, managed, operated by and accountable to members of our culturally diverse community, bringing people together around food in a friendly and welcoming space.
  • Our Co-op shall feature wherever possible locally grown, organic and fair trade products, produced using sustainable farming techniques, displaying honest labeling and partnering with vendors demonstrating ethical business practices.
  • Our Co-op shall be an economic engine for our neighborhood providing good paying jobs, mentoring for young adults and sourcing local products which shall ensure that money gets reinvested in our region while encouraging the testing of new ideas, incubating business opportunities and promoting local prosperity.
  • Our Co-op shall be accountable to our community providing nutrition and food preparation education, shall be focused on food and social justice and shall have a strategic plan for giving back to the community fostering strong relationships.

A food co-op in Rogers Park offers several distinct benefits that traditional grocery stores do not. These benefits

include:

A stronger Rogers Park economy: When you buy food at a chain grocery store, a large majority of that money leaves the neighborhood and goes to stockholders and CEO salaries. Great for them, not so great for us. When you spend money at the Rogers Park Food Co-op, more of that money stays in Rogers Park. And because co-ops source a far greater proportion of their products locally and employ more people, a co-op will have a bigger impact on the Rogers Park and regional economy than a grocer of comparable size would.

Smarter food choices for your family: Co-ops are known for being pioneers in increasing access to natural and organic foods and

Common Ground
Common Ground Food Co-op in Champaign, Illinois

promoting transparency when it comes to nutritional labeling. The Rogers Park Food Co-op will promote sustainable food that is healthy, environmentally sound, humanely produced and that fairly compensates the farmers and producers who grow and process it. Our co-op will set policies to restrict certain ingredients (such as GMOs and corn syrup), highlight product origins, and provide a variety of food options (such as gluten-free products) to help you make smarter food choices.

More and better jobs: Co-ops offer more full-time jobs than conventional grocers, with competitive wages, affordable health insurance, paid vacation time, incentives, and a participatory management structure that creates high employee morale.

Earth-friendly practices: Co-ops are good for the planet. In a co-op, we as owners have the ability to influence the store’s environmental policy. As a result, co-ops have been extremely proactive in their efforts to minimize their environmental impact through sustainable business practices, product selection, and education. For example, the average co-op recycles 81% of plastic waste and 74% of food waste versus the average conventional grocery store, which recycles only 29% of plastic waste and 36% of food waste.

Support for local farmers and artisanal entrepreneurs: One of the biggest obstacles faced by small farmers and artisanal food producers is finding retailers who are willing to sell their products. The limited production volumes of small farms coupled with many retailers’ centralized purchasing constraints keep most large grocers from supporting the local food system in a significant way. On the other hand, co-ops make their purchasing decisions at the store level based on input from their co-owners. This organizational structure enables co-ops to work closely with local growers and producers to establish sustainable business relationships.

A more prosperous Illinois: Consider this—Less than 5% of the food we buy is produced in Illinois. Because of that, Illinois loses $5 billion each year from its regional economy. Experts estimate that Illinois has the capacity to produce at least 40% of our food right here in our state. If we would buy just 15% of our food from local producers, we could generate $639 million of new income annually. This would go a long way to keep our local farmers and producers in business, expand our regional economy and increase access to fresh and sustainable food.

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