How Chicago Food Co-Op Works
Chicago Food Co-Op is a food buying club made up of individuals who collectively purchase groceries directly from distributors. We have an advantage over the individual consumer because we can purchase goods at wholesale (discounted) prices and pass the savings on to our members.
Chicago Food Co-Op purchases and holds food on behalf of its members. It does not sell any goods.
Chicago Food Co-Op is entirely volunteer-driven. We rely on our mandatory work policy to ensure that the business keeps running smoothly. All members are expected to work 3 hours every four week cycle. We have some permanent volunteer positions, some temporary jobs, and a regular need for help on the receiving and breakdown team.
Our Grocery Suppliers
We strive to bring our members variety and value. Our grocery suppliers are selected to provide the items that members want and as a buying club the price we pay for grocery items is often even lower than listed.
- United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI) offers most of the same products that are found in corporate grocery stores such as Whole Foods, except for fresh produce.
- Intelligentsia is a local coffee roaster that sells a wide variety of premium java and tea products to cafes and grocery establishments across Chicagoland. Some of their products are organic and/or purchased through "direct trade". To learn more about Intelligentsia's products, please visit their website.
- Frontier Natural Products Co-op specializes in natural and organic products. They are the world's largest global supplier of organic herbs and spices. They also sell a large variety of fair-traded organic teas, aromatherapy and personal care products, and some cooking and baking supplies.
- Grass is Greener Gardens is nestled in the valleys of Southwestern Wisconsin. Using sustainable and organic methods, they provide Chicago Food Coop with lamb, chicken, eggs, cheese, yogurt and produce.
- Natural Direct is the source for fine local foods. We offer Meats from Black Earth Meats, Cheese from Cedar Grove, Otter Creek Farm, Prairie Fruits Farm and Milks from Kilgus Farmstead, Traders Point Farm and Sunshine Goat Milk.
Nutrition, Food, and Organic Farming Resources
Full of links you can click on.
Nutrition, Food, and Organic Farming online resources
- familyfarmed.org Support the growth of a regional food system in the Midwest by establishing markets for many organic and sustainable family farms in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
- localorganic.org The Local Organic Initiative (LOI) will support the growth of a regional food system in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana with a goal to supply a significant portion of the organic food consumed in the Chicago area and throughout the region.
- localharvest.org A definitive and reliable "living" public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources.
- sevengenerationsahead.org SGA advocates for proactive, local community solutions to global environmental issues, and works to promote clean, renewable energy; eco-effective materials and products; intelligent, sustainable building design; and fresh, local food raised using ecologically safe and healthy practices. Oak Park, IL
- cornucopia.org Through research, advocacy, and economic development our goal is to empower farmers both politically and through marketplace initiatives. Cornucopia, WI.
- marigallagher.com/projects Everything you'd like to know about Chicago Food Deserts.
- messhall.org Has lots of Chicago specific food related info, in addition to a lot of other stuff.
- www.agr.state.il.us/marketing... Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force.
Other Local Co-Operatives
- dillpicklefoodcoop.org A current effort to build a storefront food Co-Op.
- chicagohoneycoop.com Chicago honey producing Co-Op.
- localdirt.com Local Dirt is an national site where anyone can find, buy and sell local food with no markup.
- workingbikes.org Working Bikes is a not-for-profit Co-Operative which diverts bicycles from the waste stream in Chicago by repairing them for sale and charity.