The Purple Carrot Market is pleased to present a discussion with author Jon Steinman about the role of the grocery store in healthy eating and healthy communities. Steinman will speak at the Great River Regional Library – Little Falls starting at 7:00 pm on Monday, September 30.
“There is this fascinating interest among people of all walks of life to inquire more deeply into the food we feed ourselves and our families,” says Steinman. “This new era of food literacy is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and yet one of the most influential forces shaping the food supply has surprisingly evaded attention –the grocery store –the epicenter of our food gathering ritual.”
Rarely do we give ourselves the opportunity to inquire into the companies selling us the food we purchase at our grocery store. Who owns the grocery stores we shop at? What influence do these often national or multinational chains exert on the production, processing and distribution of food? How do these retailers contribute to the health and well-being of the communities they operate in and to what extent do they contribute or extract from local economies? These are just some of the big questions probed in Steinman’s book Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants. The answers to these questions have a direct impact on the economy of rural, agricultural areas like Central Minnesota.
At a time when 67% of America’s grocery dollars end up in the pocket of five companies, Steinman presents an alternative: consumer-owned grocery stores more commonly know as food cooperatives (or co-ops). This business model has provided needs goods and services for well over one hundred years – rural electric co-ops, creamery and other agricultural co-ops, credit unions. “The cooperative model is democratizing the economy, and best of all, it’s a well-established alternative already operating in communities of all sizes across the country,” says Steinman. There are 230 independent consumer food co-ops with over 300 stores among them. Another 100 co-ops are in various stages of development, including the Purple Carrot Market.
Grocery Story will be of particular interest to existing and soon-to-be food co-op owners and to anyone passionate about expanding access to healthy, clean, local food in their communities. Foodmakers of all sizes are also encouraged to attend. Steinman devotes considerable attention in the book to the challenges and opportunities smaller-scale foodmakers encounter when working within the dominant food system channels. Anyone interested in reading a copy of Grocery Story prior to the event may borrow a copy from the Purple Carrot. Books are available at the Shoppes of Little Falls.
Jon Steinman is the producer and host of the internationally syndicated radio show and podcast Deconstructing Dinner (2006-2010) and of Deconstructing Dinner: Reconstructing our Food System–a television and web series currently streaming online. Jon 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, British Columbia. www.deconstructingdinner.com
This event is co-sponsored by The Purple Carrot Market and Thrivent. For more information on the event or The Purple Carrot email firstname.lastname@example.org.