Understanding Cooperatives: Meet the Kingston Food Coop

Farm-fresh produce, locally-sourced products and community-driven values? Meet the Kingston Food Coop! We are a unique enhancement to Kingston, committed to providing healthy, local food options at affordable prices to the entire community.

So, what exactly is a co-op? From the outside, co-ops function like any other business, offering goods and services for purchase, very often with a storefront like any other store. It’s how they’re run that make co-ops stand out. Take a peek inside a typical business: everything from its business decisions to its prices to its operation is structured to, essentially, make money. Businesses run for-profit and this means that decisions are based less on what’s best for the people it serves and more on what’s best for the company. And that can be frustrating at times, for all of us.

A co-op, on the other hand, is not run by a single person or a small group of people but rather by a community who has taken ownership of it. And the exciting thing is, that ownership is open to everyone. To join a co-op, you simply purchase a share, or a piece, of it. By purchasing a share, you’re purchasing part of the ownership of that co-op; this is an empowering experience because it gives you a voice in the co-op’s decisions, its operations, even its pricing. You become a member-owner, part of the ownership structure of that co-op, democratizing how it’s run. This ownership structure enables co-ops to focus on funneling profits back into serving its members. Depending on the type of co-op, this can mean lower prices, better services or easier access to products. As a member-owner, you’re not only helping to make the decisions driving those investments but enjoying the benefits of them as well. Co-ops prove the concept that a group of people can form a community centered on a shared mission and common passion.

The Kingston Food Coop embraces that co-op spirit as a community grocery store, bringing fresh, local produce and locally-sourced products to Kingston in a way that gives the entire community access. Driven by the passions of its founders, the Coop has committed itself to providing a healthy, affordable and sustainable grocery store alternative to our community. Our store will offer an opportunity that Kingston residents haven’t enjoyed before: a chance to build a locally-owned grocery store, together.

Our membership shares are available for anyone to purchase and will give you access to not just our storefront but our business: take part in Board of Director elections, vote on Coop business decisions, even run for a Board seat. Becoming a part of the Kingston Food Coop means you’re taking an ownership role in opening the door to affordable, healthy choices not just for you but for the entire community. Your support as a member-owner helps to ensure everyone’s access to an organization deeply rooted in the belief that together, we can continue to create affordable access to healthy food.

With the Kingston Food Coop, your membership is good for life.

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Rayna Clarke