Our Independent of the Month for June is: Wheatsville Food Co-Op! There are two locations, both in Austin, and they are the only retail food cooperative in Texas.
Wheatsville Food Co-op has been open and operating since 1976. Their mission is “to serve a broad range of people by providing them goods and services, using efficient methods that avoid manipulation of the consumers, and minimize exploitation of the producers or damage to the environment”. They are proud supporters local vendors and community causes.
How the Co-op Works
A co-op exists primarily for the benefit of its members(source). The members of the co-ops are the owners, unlike typical corporate chain stores. Wheatsville Food Co-Op currently has over 21,000 invested owners. “For a one-time investment of $70 a person becomes an invested owner and is eligible to vote in annual elections, run for a seat on the board of directors, receive sale prices on goods and receive a patronage rebate in sufficiently profitable years.” Wheatsville Food Co-op is open to all customers, regardless if they are owners. However, there are exclusive deals available to owners. Wheatsville Food Co-op posts their weekly deals and co-op deals online. Their website also provides a variety of resources including information on co-ops, recipes, and community information.
Curious about the daily life inside of a co-op? They offer group tours if you are interested in learning more. In 30-60 minutes all departments will be presented.
A fun program they have for the younger ones is Co+op Explorers! This program lets kids (12 and under) grab a free piece of organic fruit each time they’re in the store. Additionally, they can enter to win a prize when they complete the coloring challenge of the month.
Every Thursday, Wheatsville Food Co-op offers a $5 dinner. You can check the weekly menu posted ahead of time on their website. They provide a vegan and non-vegan option and often create the meals to be 100% gluten-free.
Each month, to aid the community, the co-op will choose a non-profit organization to donate to. During checkout, customers have the option to round up to contribute. At the end of the month these donations are added up and given to the designated non-profit. The staff at Wheatsville Co-op also volunteers with the corresponding non-profits of the month.
Are you close to Wheatsville Food Co-op, but don’t have time to go in-store? They have a solution for you! Instacart allows you to shop their products online and have them delivered to your door. Not close to Wheatsville Food Co-op? Follow their Instagram to see the latest news and updates about the store!
“The purpose of Wheatsville Co-op is to create a self-reliant, self-empowering community of people that will grow and promote a transformation of society toward cooperation, justice, and non-exploitation.”