By Jon Steinman

Book Cover: Grocery Story; The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants (2019)
Editions:Paperback: $ 19.99 USD
ISBN: 9780865719071
Pages: 304
Kindle: $ 13.00 USD
ISBN: 0865719071

Food has become ground-zero in our efforts to increase awareness of how our choices impact the world. Yet while we have begun to transform our communities and dinner plates, the most authoritative strand of the food web has received surprisingly little attention: the grocery store—the epicenter of our food-gathering ritual.

Through penetrating analysis and inspiring stories and examples of American and Canadian food co-ops, Grocery Story makes a compelling case for the transformation of the grocery store aisles as the emerging frontier in the local and good food movements. Author Jon Steinman:

  • Deconstructs the food retail sector and the shadows cast by corporate giants
  • Makes the case for food co-ops as an alternative
  • Shows how co-ops spur the creation of local food-based economies and enhance low-income food access.

Grocery Story is for everyone who eats. 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.

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About Jon Steinman

Jon Steinman has studied and worked with all things food for over two decades. He was the producer and host of the internationally syndicated radio show and podcast Deconstructing Dinner, once ranked as the most-listened-to food podcast in Canada. Jon is the writer and host of "Deconstructing Dinner: Reconstructing our Food System" – a television and web series currently streaming online. Jon coordinates and curates the annual Deconstructing Dinner Film Festival of compelling food documentaries and 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, BC.

Table of Contents of Grocery Story

  1. Introduction
  2. Rise of the Grocery Giants (A&P — The First of the Giants / Other Giants Emerge / Self-Service / Regulating the Rise of Big Business / Expanding the War on Chain Grocers / Enter the Supermarket)
  3. Retailer Market Power (Taming the Chains / The Giants Break Loose  / The Accelerating of Supermarket Dominance / Regulating Market Power Today / The Generational Effect and Self-Reinforcing Apathy)
  4. Food Prices and the People Who Grow Our Food (The Farm Crisis of the 1980s / The “Farm Share” and “Marketing Share” of Our Food Dollars / Squeezing Food Dollars Through Bottlenecks / Farm Value vs. Retail Price / Eaters Pay the Price for Concentrated Markets / Mergers Decrease Prices Paid to Farmers / The Most Extreme Expression of the Farm Income Crisis)
  5. Grocery Stores — The Food System’s Control Center (Shaping Food — Literally / Losses in Flavor / Cosmetic Requirements and Food Safety / Genetic Diversity / Food Standards as Buyer Leverage / Standards and Food Waste / Marching Orders for Suppliers / Suppliers Finance Their Own Servitude / Category Management / Pay to Play, Pay to Stay / Is It Bribery? / Private Labels (Deliberately Anonymous) / Barriers to Entry / Setting Food Policy / Eaters at the Controls)
  • INTERLUDE (Welcome to What’s Possible, North America / Welcome to Resisterville (Nelson, British Columbia) / Grocery Giants in Nelson / The Regional Food Movement / Viroqua, Wisconsin)
  1. Enter the Co-op (What Is a Co-op? / Mission-Driven and Transparent / Resilience / History of the Cooperative Movement / The First Consumer Co-ops in Canada and the United States / The Empowered Consumer)
  2. The Food Co-op Waves (The Consumer Wave The New Wave / The New Wave Grows Up / The Newest Wave / Beyond Natural Foods — Co-ops for Low-Income Communities)
  3. Consumer Food Co-ops Today (There’s Nothing Cookie-Cutter About Food Co-ops / Food Co-ops as Community Centers / Education / Kitchen Skills Training / Children’s Programming / Co-ops in Schools / Food Access / Inexpensive Meals for Community Building / Community Giving/ Nonprofit Arms / Positive Workplace / Working Members / Cooperation with Local Businesses / The Co-op Footprint / Community-Owned Good Food Media / College Town Co-ops / Governance and Ownership / Profiles of Board Directors at Food Co-ops / Engaging Members in Their Co-op / Diversity / Social Cohesion / Activism / On Prices /Unleashing Potential)
  4. Co-ops as Food Desert Remediation (Greensboro, North Carolina / Cincinnati, Ohio Other Stories of “What’s Possible” / Starting a Co-op Isn’t a Shoo-In for Success)
  5. Food Co-ops and the Local Economy (Easier Access to Eaters / True Local / The Language of “Economic Development” / Food Co-ops as Economic Development / Local Food System Stimulation / Anchors for Main Street / Retention and Rearing of Community Leaders / A Different Kind of Profit)
  6. Local Foodmakers — The People Behind the Products (Co-ops as Small Business Incubators / The People Behind the Products / Where Does Your Food Dollar Go? / Planning the Co-op Shelves with Local Producers)
  7. Threats to Food Co-ops (Fierce Competition / The Co-opting of “Local” / The “Whole Foods Effect” / The Demise of Co-op Atlantic / Closed / Relevance / Ideology / Institutional Isomorphism / Member Engagement)
  8. Growing Food Co-ops, Growing the Movement (Start-ups / Financing Food Co-ops / Co-ops Supporting Co-ops)
  • Epilogue: Where Do We Go from Here?