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Fredericksburg represented at national food co-op conference

Food co-ops are surging in popularity these days, both in Fredericksburg and around the country.

That was one of several takeaways Fredericksburg Food Co-op board chair and vice chair Rich Larochelle and Jonathan Stevens came back with after attending the Up & Coming Food Co-op Conference in March in Milwaukee, Wisc.

“It’s amazing that there are more than 100 new startup co-ops in the U.S.,” Larochelle said. “More and more people are seeking a sense of community built around the ideas they believe in–like buying local, eating healthy foods and doing the best we can to protect our beautiful environment. Food co-ops are aligned with those values.”

He said people are turning to co-ops out of a need to do something about their frustration with industrialized agriculture, concentrated ownership of food production and distribution and the environmental impact of our food system.

Seventy food co-op startups were represented at the conference, and Larochelle said he was pleased to learn that the growth in membership that Fredericksburg’s co-op has experienced is very strong.

“The conference reinforced how lucky we are in Fredericksburg,” he said. As the experts at the Food Cooperative Initiative have told us, very few co-ops are growing as quickly or at such a steady pace as the Fredericksburg Food Co-op. We have a wonderful community.”

The experience also reinforced that with the level of growth Fredericksburg has seen, the Fredericksburg Food Co-op will soon approach the point where it needs to seek a store location and launch a member loan campaign. Many co-ops raise their startup funding through “crowdsourcing” fundraising campaigns and other methods, such as the sale of preferred stock to members.

These topics will be under discussion by the board of the Fredericksburg Food Co-op in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned to learn how you can help make our local food co-op grocery store a reality!


Published March 30, 2018