What I Love About My Co-op

Written by Kim McGinley and Amber Forest McHale

Outside of the great service provided to me as an individual, I believe that the community of Ocean Beach as a whole benefits from the positive presence of O.B. People’s Organic Food Market, our very own food cooperative.

What follows is a partial list of what I love about my co-op

People’s provides a Community Room as a meeting space at no cost for co-op member-owners, who in turn offer monthly workshops and lectures that are always free of charge. Additionally, the co-op provides donations to Ocean Beach Elementary School and other programs that benefit the youth, as well as providing donations for many community events. The co-op also offers a daily discount for member-owners who are senior citizens.

It gets cold in the winter, even in San Diego, and People’s hosts an annual warm clothing/blanket drive for the homeless during January. They also provide an “every day of the year” drop box for food donations that helps fill the pantry shelves of the Western Service Workers Association’s food bank. People’s is also the largest employer in Ocean Beach, providing a livable wage with opportunities for training and advancement, an excellent benefits package, and exposure to a democratically controlled, cooperative work environment.

Ocean Beach People’s similarly helps build a sense of community within our ocean town. They provide a space for local artists to display their art, and offer free local music every Friday night and Sunday morning. The co-op organizes a Fall Arts and Crafts Fair for local artisans, they also host a much anticipated Healthy Halloween event, a vegetarian birthday party barbeque (all the food is free at the party!) each summer and an  Annual Meeting in the spring with a delicious brunch. Plus, the co-op publishes a free monthly newsletter that aims to educate and promote healthy lifestyles for both the individual and the environment.

On a national front, Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market is held in high esteem due to its sustainable green building practices, unique meat-free environment, cooperative business structure, and a dedication to “buying for” as opposed to “selling to” their customers.

The co-op eschews synthetic food ingredients, and their merchandise policy forbids the sale of food with artificial colors or preservatives. I love that! Long before the food industry began to tackle the issue of trans fats as a health concern, People’s removed these fats—considered by many health practitioners to be the most unhealthy type of fat—from their shelves. And as for choosing plastic over paper at the checkout stand, People’s removed the plastic option almost two decades ago. Rather, they offer a daily raffle for a $30 dollar People’s gift card to shoppers who bring in their own reusable bags. And, if you forgot your bags at home, the co-op encourages shoppers to help themselves to any number of sized cardboard boxes from the box bin located at the entrance to the store.

There are so many reasons that I am proud to be part of O.B. People’s. Not the least of which, together with more than 14,000 other co-op members, I own the store!

Republished with permission from Ocean Beach People's Organic Food Co-op.