In 2015, a group of food justice advocates began exploring the possibility of a cooperative grocery to serve Louisville, Kentucky’s urban neighborhoods. We formed a Steering Committee and working committees to focus our research.
Since 2015, the urban food crisis has worsened.. two small neighborhood grocery stores have closed and four supermarkets have closed that served our low- and middle-income neighbors.
(Left, Center for Health Equity, 2016; Right, Erin Hargrove 2016)
In 2016, we talked to hundreds of our neighbors at community meetings & events, while collecting and analyzing data about peoples’ shopping habits. We researched cooperative grocery stores in cities like Louisville, and we captured media attention.
Our vision is to combine the best features of a value-oriented grocer and a modern consumer food cooperative offering everything available at a large grocer. This will be a place where everyone feels welcome, owner and non-owner alike. The success of this business will be driven by the ideas and input of ALL customers and workers.
We believe access to healthy food is a human right and our communities’ self-reliance in providing for our food needs is essential; and that a company should provide not just jobs but career paths that offer family-sustaining wages, good benefits, while also providing life-fulfilling work.
We want to be an integral part of the community. Our concern for, and our valuing of all our neighbors, informs our vision of a grocery store that will be open to all, whether they are a community-owner or not, and our commitment that ownership of a share in our Louisville Food Cooperative will be accessible to all regardless of income.
In 2017, we incorporated a non-profit, Louisville Association for Community Economics to promote a cooperative grocery for Louisville. We continue our organizing work while raising money to realize the vision of an urban community-owned grocery store!