Food Co-ops and the Paradox of Exclusivity
In this interview, Esteban Kelly of the AORTA Collective (Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance) discusses the problems of exclusivity in food co-ops with Professor Andrew Zitcer of Drexel University. Zitcer has recently published an article on the topic in journal Antipode:
Consumer food cooperatives constitute a vital part of the alternative food movement in the United States, alongside farmers' markets, community-supported agriculture, community gardens and other initiatives. Like these efforts, food co-ops seek to counter the dominance of industrial agriculture and the decimation of local economies. Yet food co-ops wrestle with a paradox of exclusivity, whereby some practices and people are inadvertently left out in order to create conditions for a strong identification among others with particular ways of being and doing. This article explores the paradox of exclusivity through an in-depth study of two food co-ops in Philadelphia, PA. Exclusivity manifests itself in what the co-ops sell, their business practices, and how they market themselves to potential members. Overcoming the paradox of exclusivity requires efforts towards affordability, accessibility and reflective practice in order for co-ops to realize their transformative social and economic potential.
Kelly draws on his experiences at the Mariposa Food Co-op and stresses the importance of listening, openness and the willingness to have our beliefs challenged in overcoming inadvertant exclusivity in our cooperative enterprises.
Go to the GEO front page
A weekly email newsletter connecting you with our latest issues, articles and special features. Subscribe now!
- 2: Building Regional Solidarity Economy Networks-NEW!
- 1: Expanding the Reach of Food Co-ops
- 18: The Southern Cooperative Movement
- 17: Scaling-Up the Cooperative Movement
- 16: Intentional Communities and Solidarity Economics
- 15: Advancing the Development of Worker Co-ops-ADWC 2013
- 14: The Anniversary Issue
- 13: The Frank Lindenfeld Memorial
- 12: International Year of the Cooperative
- 11: Lessons for Today from "Black Like Me"
- 10: Occupy! Connect! Create!
- 9: Collective Action: Research, Practice and Theory
- 8: Worker Cooperative Development Models
- 7: The Cooperative Advantage
- 6: Inter-cooperation is Key
- 5: Education For Economic Liberation
- 4: Land, Food, Childcare, Laundry, and a Book
- 3: Worker Cooperative Replication
- 2: Strengthening the Movement
- 1: Grassroots Democracy In Action