Blog: Food

Kindness is Woven into This Co-op’s Business Practices: NCG’s Story

October 4, 2017

Ever think about how ‘kind’ your grocery store is? Well, check out this group of community-owned food co-ops!

National Co+op Grocers (NCG) is a cooperative network of 148 food co-ops – grocery stores that are owned by the people who shop there. Anyone can shop at a food co-op, just like a regular grocery store, and everyone is welcome to invest in ownership.

Because NCG food co-ops are community-owned, people come first. This translates to business practices that are designed to best serve their local economies, communities, and the environment we all share. Food co-ops believe that incorporating kindness into business practices helps build a better world, one community at a time. And it’s working!

NCG food co-ops collectively lead the market in sales of locally grown and produced foods, sustaining tens of thousands of jobs for family farmers, entrepreneurs and small business owners across the country. With an average of 21% of their annual sales coming from local products, food co-ops demonstrate that doing business on a human scale remains viable and sustainable in the age of big box retail.

Food co-ops are also the best place to find organic food; one out of every three products sold is USDA Certified Organic at the average NCG food co-op. Organic farming methods are supportive of all levels of life – from soil microbes, to pollinators, to the health of farm workers in the fields. Commitment to the environment doesn’t stop there – NCG and its co-ops offset their carbon footprint by funding the planting and protection of 1.4 million trees in the Peruvian rainforest – creating good, sustainable jobs for the members of the surrounding community at the same time.

Going above and beyond making a profit, food co-ops also serve to demonstrate what a kind economy might look like. Collectively NCG co-ops donated over 1,500,000 pounds of fresh, healthy food to food pantries in 2016 and contributed over $2.6 million to charitable causes. As a percentage of revenue, NCG co-ops donate to charitable causes at a rate that is 44% higher on average than conventional retailers.

The seven international principles that guide co-ops are in many ways responsible for the inspiring community, economic, and environmental impact that sets NCG food co-ops apart from conventional grocers. It is because of their communities’ commitment to cooperative values that a better, kinder way of doing business is possible.

In 2018, NCG is joining forces with other cooperatives across the United States to conduct 1 million acts of kindness, because food co-ops know a little kindness goes a long way towards building a better world, starting today! #Coops4Kindness