Food Co-Ops Are on the Rise in Philly

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But are they really helping the communities they serve? We grilled the general managers of three local food co-ops to get some answers.This past Friday, Mayor Kenney declared October 19th the inaugural Philadelphia Grocery Co-op Day. His proclamation, which prompted a full-day, city-wide celebration, recognized local food co-ops and the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA) for their commitment to “growing the cooperative economy and building a movement for economic justice in our area.”

While PACA has been in operation for the past 12 years, the city itself has a longstanding history of co-ops. In 1752, Benjamin Franklin helped establish the Philadelphia Contributionship, the first mutual insurance company in the United States and the first Philly co-op. A century later, Pennsylvania became the third state to pass a co-op law permitting the formation of mechanical, manufacturing, and agricultural cooperatives.

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