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The Case for Coops

a sliver of light in the criminal enterprise called retail

Our products are sold in hundreds of retail stores across the US and abroad. This is something we have worked very hard to achieve but, it hasn’t come without a very steep price. The sweetener market is a competitive one and when distributors and big retailers know this they take advantage of it by charging manufactures and farmers fee for everything from putting the products on the shelves to massive marketing allowances. These fees go directly to the retailer and distributors lining their pockets while picking yours and mine. Welcome to the criminal enterprise we call retail distribution.

I am sure you have noticed your grocery bill steadily climbing. I can assure you that none of those increases are making their way to farmers or smaller food manufactures. Those hard earned dollars are going right into the coffers of big corporations. In this economy that is tantamount to kicking a fellow when he is down.

A couple of weeks ago I was flipping through the paper and I saw Safeway had London Broil on sale for $2.29 per lb. I considered taking advantage of this deal but, something stopped me. While $2.29 is a very good price somebody is going to be paying the difference and it wasn’t going to be Safeway. My dad was involved in the cattle ranching industry. While growing up I had the opportunity to witness first hand a farmers and ranchers life style and it is far from lavish. If it weren’t for the fact that a lot of them have had their properties handed down to them for generations free from huge mortgages they would not be able to stay in business. When family farms and ranches go under they are often picked up for pennies on the dollar by large corporate interests that funnel billions of dollars to politicians and lobbyists. With this accumulated collective power they can influence our government to continue subsidies that fill their pockets and while picking ours even further. Much thought went into making my purchase and I sincerely wish more people would do this. I felt compelled to start making all of my buying decisions this way.

What ultimately made sense for me was to start making all of my food purchases at a coop. Coops are not-for-profit. The owners are the people who shop there. Each coop member owns a share of the store and can be instrumental in the running of the coop. Coops negotiate fair deals on local and healthy products without gouging the farmers or manufacturers. As a manufacturer we love doing business with coops because they are so fair and they pass whatever discounts we provide directly to the consumer. To find your local coop use this link: http://www.localharvest.org/food-coops/ . Whether you shop at Whole Foods or Safeway moving to a coop will benefit the community you live in and eventually benefit you.

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