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People’s Food Co-op

I feel like I’ve gone through a Ann Arbor rite of passage–I joined the People’s Food Co-op this past weekend! I spend a lot of my time thinking about how I can make better decisions with my money and the things I have to spend it on. I think that food is the most important thing that we spend our money on–we can’t live without it.

And because of that, it is really important WHERE we get our food from and what types of food we choose to buy and eat. To me, the hierarchy of stores is clear. I have stores on my “avoid at all costs list” and stores on my “acceptable” list, and a preferred list.

When I moved to Ann Arbor, I was positively thrilled with the notion that I would have a Whole Foods near me, two of them actually. And I won’t lie, I like them, I like them a lot. I can wander around for over an hour and just look at all of the options available (especially the meat counter and wine section–if I bought and drank wine that is….). It costs more than Kroger and Meijer, and especially that other Grocery-store-that-shall-not-be-named. But I didn’t care and I still don’t. Like I said, I feel food is the most important thing, and it should cost more.

However, I have decided that I will forgo shopping at the big-box organic in favor of the People’s Food Co-op. Not because prices are better (honestly haven’t checked) or it’s closer (it isn’t), but because they have the majority of what I want and there is only one store-front. No big CEO sitting in a lofty suite with hundreds of stores under him. A real group of owners (all of us co-owners, actually) supporting a locally-grown business that has been in Ann Arbor for longer than I have been alive.

Besides the fact that I care what my money supports, there are some great things about it that I have noticed, even in my few visits so far:
-Bulk bins, bulk bins, bulk bins. Normal items (nuts, grains, sugar) that are at Whole Foods, but also many that are not, including olive oil, soy sauce, honey, and bulk spices. There is also tofu in bulk.
-Not crowded! Both times I’ve been there were on Saturday mornings during the Farmers Market a block away–very surprised it wasn’t crowded.
-Good location for me. Close to other stuff I like: TeaHaus, Sparrow Market and Monahan’s (for fish + meat that they don’t carry at the co-op), Heavenly Metal.

Also, Cafe Verde, the little coffee shop attached to the Co-op has amazing Chai Lattes. Still sad that places charge extra for soy milk though.

Note: not sure who took that picture above, it’s from the Co-op’s Facebook photo album. I most certainly didn’t take it.

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