The first modern-day cooperative grocery store in Medford isn't just a boon to local shoppers. It's part of a nationwide resurgence in co-ops that looks to keep growing.
The Medford Food Co-op opened in August following five years of planning, fundraising, regrouping, remodeling and finally stocking the shelves of its Riverside Avenue store, and members could hardly contain their excitement.
"We're so glad that they're open," says Terry Beaman, a Medford resident and Co-op member. "We're going to try to buy as much from the Co-op as possible."
Such sentiments are striking a chord with more and more Americans, who value strategic spending and, at the same time, deeper understanding of where their food comes from. In this climate of economics meets ethics, small grocers who focus on locally produced, natural foods are finding favor with shoppers who can enjoy the additional perk of membership.
With 1,550 members, Medford Food Co-op is one of 300 cooperatives around the country, and at least 250 others are under development in cities from New Orleans to Fairbanks, Alaska, according to an August story by The Associated Press. During the past three years, 10 to 12 new stores have opened each year, according to Cooperative Grocer magazine, which keeps an online directory of food co-ops, the AP reported.