A new food co-op is set to open in downtown Battle Creek next year.

A food co-op, if you didn't know, is a grocery store that's generally owned by the people who shop there versus a private corporation. Usually, high-quality items are offered at a fair price. Read more here.

Food co-ops aren't a new thing, by any means. While the history isn't so cut and dry that a specific year can be credited for the start of co-ops (after all, humans have been cooperating on a number of different levels since the beginning of our existence), there was a rise in the number of food co-ops available during the Great Depression. Later, in the 60s and 70s, another "wave" of co-ops popped up. That might be why a lot of people associate food co-ops with "hippies". Read a more detailed history here.

Now, a new co-op is opening in Battle Creek.

Backed by Sprout BC, a company that works to connect residents with locally grown food, the new co-op will be located at 119 West Michigan Ave. which has stood empty for at least a few years.

In an interview with Second Wave Southwest Michigan, Sprout BC CEO, Jeremy Andrews, gave the reason for choosing downtown Battle Creek saying,

Downtown is centrally located and surrounded by some of the most diverse socioeconomic populations in Battle Creek. With more people living downtown, the co-op will give them options for convenient and accessible food options.

As well, having this kind of healthy food option may attract and keep people shopping in the downtown area.

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How Does it Work? Do I Have to Be a Member to Shop There?

Absolutely not. Food co-ops are open to all who want to shop there. However, if you want to be an owner and have a say in the future of the co-op, you will need to pay to be a member.

As of right now, the membership options, as listed on Sprout BC's website, are as follows:

  • Lifetime Individual/Family Membership: $200. Includes member discounts on certain items and on events like tastings, cooking classes, etc.
  • Pay it Forward Membership: $400. This one comes with all of the amenities as the above membership but, allows Sprout BC to gift a membership to a low-income family
  • Founding Member: $1,500. All of the above amenities are included along with co-op swag, a free class, and names will be woven into a Founders Mural.

Those are just the first few membership tiers. There are additional options at a higher price that come with even more amenities. See all of the membership info here.

When is it Opening?

Currently, the projected opening date is the early summer of 2023. After all, renovations and remodeling still need to be completed. You can check on their progress by following their Facebook page or by looking for any future announcements on their website.

Kalamazoo Also Has a Food Co-Op

Kalamazoo also has its own food co-op, The People's Food Co-Op also known as PFC. Currently, PFC has 3,800 owners within the community. But, much like the soon-to-be co-op in Battle Creek, you do not need a membership to shop there.

See more about PFC here.

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