How is the co-op different from a CSA, farmers' market, or regular supermarket?


Both CSAs and farmers’ markets provide access to fresh food, usually at great prices, and offer opportunities to get to know your food provider.

Through a CSA, folks invest in one farmer’s crops for one season. So, a CSA member contributes money to the farm prior to the start of the farming season, which helps the farmer purchase supplies and begin planting. The CSA member then receives comes in the form of a share of the farm’s produce, usually on a weekly basis, throughout the growing season. 

A farmers’ market is a seasonal marketplace, usually outdoors on a weekly basis, where farmers from around the region come to sell their goods directly to consumers. Farmers’ markets vary greatly in size, quality, and running length. 

A supermarket generally makes purchasing decisions based on the influence of large food companies and profit margins, following a stereotypical corporate structure. They sell an enormous selection of products without emphasis on a particular category or set of values. Many supermarkets do not contract with local suppliers, although some are beginning to carry small selections of local produce.

The Bethlehem Food Co-Op will appear much like a standard supermarket (although hopefully with a bit more atmosphere) and will operate year-round out of the same storefront. Like a CSA, our early members are asked to purchase an equity share prior to our doors opening to help build community support and financial capital. Like a farmers’ market, the Co-Op will offer a collection of the best products from local growers. Basically, we’ve taken the best from each of these sorts of businesses and merged them into something fantastic!

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commented 2013-12-30 02:28:53 -0500 · Flag
Thank you