Why community-owned grocery stores like co-ops are the best recipe for revitalizing food deserts


Food deserts are a problem that have become particularly difficult to solve in recent years. Food insecurity has been blamed on a lack of grocery stores in low income neighborhoods. The solution seems to be co-ops. Co-ops promote community engagement, which is vital to opening and sustaining a new store in neighborhoods where residents are understandably skeptical of outside developers and worry about gentrification and rising rents. Cooperatives also adopt local hiring practices, pay living wages and help residents counteract inequities in the food system. The co-op model, in which a third of the cost of opening typically comes from member loans, ensures communities are literally invested in their new stores and their use.

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