Find a Food Co-op Near You

Priced out of the farmers market? Forgot to sign up for this season’s CSA? A co-op membership might be for you.

The sharing economy is getting a lot of media play these days with even our parents knowing about Uber and TaskRabbit. More and more food and drink related start-ups, including this seemingly improbable meat sharing app, are popping up left and right. 

(“MeatMe!” The pun potential alone has us checking up on it.) These ideas are far from new, though, and lucky for us, old school sharing concepts like food co-ops continue to thrive in Brooklyn.

A food co-op is a grocery store that is owned and operated by people in the local community, usually called members or member-owners. In contrast to a conventional grocery, co-op members all have equal stake in the operation, which is generally able to offer goods at substantially lower prices (think 20 percent above wholesale) because of this business model.

Additionally, members exercise greater direct autonomy over what’s served on their shelves with most co-ops offering certified organic, non-GMO and local products from some of the same vendors you’ll find at farmers markets and boutique grocers. As Joe Holtz, manager at the Park Slope Food Co-op (PSFC), insists: “A co-op is not looking to maximize profit but to maximize members satisfaction and build an institution where people work together”.

It used to be that Brooklynites had only a couple of co-ops to choose from, but demand for this type of operation has grown and at least four new storefronts have opened in the past three years. Of course this business model has challenges just like any other, and depending on your lifestyle, work slots can be difficult to secure, rules can be complicated and the overall costs might not be worth the benefits. But in exchange for a few hours of labor or a slight markup (depends on the co-op), members have access to a bounty of products at a fraction of their average price. We’re all about ways to save 20 to 40 percent — the average for many co-ops — on our regular grocery bill.

Priced out of the farmers market? Forgot to sign up for this season’s CSA? Check out the following list to find a co-op option near you.

Park Slope Food Co-op
782 Union St.; 718.622.0560
Can non-members shop here? No
Membership fee: $100 (additional $25 non-refundable joining fee)
Work requirement: 2 hours 45 minutes every 4 weeks
Hours: Monday–Friday 8:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m., Saturday 6:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m., Sunday 6:00 a.m.–7:30 p.m.

The Park Slope Food Coop is one of the oldest and largest active food co-ops in the United States. Formed in 1973, PSFC has grown to include over 17,000 members. The PSFC has a stated interest in helping other co-ops get started, and to that end they allow members to work shifts at other co-ops for credit at Park Slope.

Flatbush Food Co-op
1415 Cortelyou Rd.; 718.284.9717
Can non-members shop here? Yes
Membership fee: $200 (additional $15 non-refundable joining fee)
Work requirement: No work required
Hours: Every day; 6:00 a.m.–midnight

The Flatbush Food Co-op has been operating since 1976, and unlike PSFC, anyone can shop here. By becoming a member, though, you get to participate democratically in the business (voting for the board of directors, for example) and benefit from special members-only sales and discounts on some co-op events.

#Repost @miralew with @repostapp. ・・・ No need to complain about the quality and price of #produce in NYC @greenehillfoodcoop #Co-op

A photo posted by Greene Hill Food Co-op (@greenehillfoodcoop) on

Greene Hill Food Co-op
18 Putnam Ave.; 347.799.1939
Can non-members shop here? No
Membership fee: $175 (includes a one-time $150 investment in the co-op, plus a nonrefundable $25 administrative fee)
Work requirement: 2½ hours every 4 weeks.
Hours: Monday and Wednesday 3:00–9:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10:00–6:00 p.m.

The Greene Hill Food Co-op opened its storefront in December 2011. It’s a 100 percent working co-op, meaning that all members contribute two and a half hours of work every four weeks. If you’re already a member of the Park Slope Food Co-op, you can work shifts at Greene Hill for credit at Park Slope.

Sunday is the day to snuggle at home with a tub of delicious @brooklynbell ice cream

A photo posted by Bushwick Food Coop (@bushwickfood) on

Bushwick Food Co-op
2 Porter Ave.; 347.450.1087
Can non-members shop here? Yes
Annual membership fee: $50 first year fee, $25 fee for the following 2 to 5 years
Work requirement: 4 hours per month
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday noon–8:00 p.m.

Founded in 2009, the Bushwick Food Co-op runs a small storefront out of the Loom building. Non-members can shop there although the member price difference might just convince you to sign up.

Bay Ridge Food Co-op
9322 3rd Ave.; 425; 347.274.8172
Can non-members shop here? No
Membership fee: $200
Work requirement: Approximately 4 hours per month
Hours: Check website for pickup times

Owned and operated by its members, the co-op is currently functioning as a buying club, distributing food out of the Union Church at 79th and Ridge. They distribute fresh organic and conventional produce and shelf-stable items (locally sourced where possible) approximately twice a month. They welcome anybody to visit the co-op and to shop up to three times before joining as a member. As their membership grows, their plan is to open a store.

We're on Instagram finally! Follow us at @leffertsfoodcoop and post your pics!

A photo posted by Lefferts Community Food Co-op (@leffertsfoodcoop) on

Lefferts Community Food Co-op
324 Empire Blvd.; 201.472.0639
Can non-members shop here? No
Membership fee: $100 (additional $25 nonrefundable joining fee)
Work requirement: 2 hours 45 minutes every 4 weeks
Hours: Open to members for limited hours; Thursday and Sunday

The Lefferts Community Food Co-op is one of Brooklyn’s newest. It uses uses the same member-worker approach as the Park Slope Food Co-op and, if you are a PSFC member, you can work your PSFC shifts here.

Pocky says: "This week at the Coop, we are open Thursday 4-8 pm (extra hour!), Friday, 4-7 pm, and closed Saturday and Sunday. Woof!"

A photo posted by Windsor Terrace Food Coop (@windsorterracefoodcoop) on

Windsor Terrace Food Co-op
825 Caton Ave.
Can non-members shop here? No
Membership fee: $100 for single shoppers, $175 for families
Work requirement: 1 to 2 hours per month
Hours: Thursday and Friday 4:00–7:00PM; Saturday and Sunday 10:00AM–4:00PM

The Windsor Terrace Food Co-Op is also one of Brooklyn’s newest. They prioritize local sourcing and minimal processing, and they work with a New Jersey–based organic distributor and GrowNYC to accomplish these goals.

Eleonore Buschinger, Claire Brown and Ariel Lauren Wilson contributed reporting to this piece.

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