The Coop is run entirely by volunteers, with a 9 member Board overseeing the operations.
All the farmers, restaurants and other producers who are members of the coop are local -- that is, they're located in West Michigan, no more than 100 miles from Grand Rapids. The farmers who belong to the coop practice a wide variety of agricultural methods ranging from conventional to Certified Organic farming.
Some of the items you can get at the coop are soap, cheese, eggs, meat, fruit, vegetables, bread, compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, fair trade coffee, earth-friendly laundry detergent, bees wax candles, maple syrup, honey, cookies, pie mixes, and much more.
Membership into the Coop is free for the first 2 months. After the trial period is over, Coop members pay $35 a year to continue shopping.
The Coop believes the best hope for building a healthy, humane, local food system lies with an educated consumer. They encourage their members to educate themselves on the issues involved in modern farming and local food systems. They provide some information on their site, frequently appear at local functions talking about the coop and the importance of a local, sustainable food system, and, from time to time, sponsor farm tours so that their members can visit the farms and meet their farmers to truly connect with their food. They strongly believe that the key to a sustainable food system in West Michigan is the participation of local consumers. They state "It's ultimately up to you to take responsibility for where your food comes from; educate yourself about the issues surrounding modern agriculture and don't be afraid to ask questions when you shop. Farmers who are as concerned about the food system as you are appreciate it."
How It Works
Members purchase products from producers on the site during a shopping "window" that begins on the first Saturday of every month and ends on the following Friday. From roughly May-November, they pick up and pay for their orders on the third Wednesday of the month (December-April it's on Saturdays) at Media Rare, which is at 1111 Godfrey SW, at the exact corner of Godfrey and Hall Streets.