Grocery Story is for Everyone Who Eats

Jon Steinman author of Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants will be in The Food Co-op on Sunday, September 15th from 11am - 1pm signing books. Come and meet the author, buy a book or come to the author talk at 4pm in the Co-op Annex (2110 Lawrence St.). Books will be available for sale and refreshments served. Hope to see you there!

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Whether you strive to eat more local and sustainable food, or are in support of community economic development, Grocery Story will leave you hungry to join the food co-op movement in your own community.

“There is this fascinating interest among people of all walks of life to inquire more deeply into the food we feed ourselves and our families,” says Steinman. “This new era of food literacy is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and yet one of the most influential forces shaping the food supply has surprisingly evaded attention – the grocery store – the epicenter of our food gathering ritual.”

For many of us fortunate enough to be able to purchase our food from a grocery store, rarely do we give ourselves the opportunity to inquire into the companies selling us the food. Who owns the grocery stores we shop at? What influence do these often national or multinational chains exert on the production, processing and distribution of food? How do these retailers contribute to the health and well-being of the communities they operate in and to what extent do they contribute or extract from local economies? These are just some of the big questions probed in Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants — a new book from journalist Jon Steinman.

Grocery Story is receiving considerable praise from leaders in the movement for good food. “A great read! Full of energy and eyes-wide-open hope,” writes France Moore Lappé, author of the seminal food book Diet for a Small Planet. “In an era of extreme economic concentration, Jon Steinman awakens us to elements of an arising democratic economy, hidden in plain sight,” adds Lappé. “Grocery Story is, above all, an empowering tale we need now more than ever.”

The democratic economy Lappé speaks of are consumer-owned grocery stores – food cooperatives (or co-ops). This unique business model has been used widely to provide goods and services for well over one hundred years as an alternative to private ownership. When the model is applied to food retail, consumer co-ops offer grocery store customers the opportunity to co-own the store they shop at. For just a $50-$200 investment, you could be the proud co-owner of your grocery store. No longer interested in co-owning the store? Your money is returned to you. “It’s really quite remarkable – almost revolutionary,” says Steinman. “The cooperative model is democratizing the economy, and best of all, it’s a well-established alternative already operating in communities of all sizes across the country.” There are 230 independent consumer food co-ops with over 300 stores among them. Another 100 co-ops are in various stages of development.

To launch the book, Steinman is touring across the U.S. and Canada throughout 2019 with visits to upwards of 130 food co-ops from coast to coast. The tour runs from April through December with dates posted at

Jon Steinman is the producer and host of the internationally syndicated radio show and podcast Deconstructing Dinner (2006-2010) and of Deconstructing Dinner: Reconstructing our Food System – a television and web series currently streaming online. Jon was an elected director from 2006-2016 of the Kootenay Co-op – Canada's largest independent retail consumer food co-op, serving as Board President from 2014-2016. He lives in Nelson, British Columbia.