Co-op is your only stop!

Posted: August 9, 2012 by osakom in Week 3: Reflections + Economic Sustainability
Tags: , , , , , ,

There were a couple of times when I didn’t bring my plastic bags to buy bulk food. When I go grocery shopping for myself, I remember to bring my plastic bags. However, whenever I’m at a friend’s house and we spontaneously decide to go get candy or ingredients for baking, I get too lazy to grab my plastic bags from home.

Guilty as charged, two weekends in a row, I have failed to attend the farmer’s market. I was upset at myself for missing farmer’s market!

However, on the brighter note, I went to the co-op in South-town for the first time this week! I loved the everything about the store, and I wanted to spend hours in there. Learning about sustainability, what is happening to the earth, and the impacts that every action has on the earth, it opened up my eyes and made me want to help out. I noticed that I have been producing less waste. Our garbage can hasn’t filled up as fast as it used to. Economically, although I’m not shopping any more frequently, I have been spending more money because I’ve been buying organic food from the co-op and Market of Choice, instead of Winco’s.

Economically, I don’t know if there is much benefit for me. I feel like I’m just spending more money on groceries. However, if everyone started bringing their own plastic bags and went to the Co-op or the farmers’ markets, there would a HUGE impact on supply and demand, product lifecycles, and government budgets. In terms of product lifecycles, the plastic bags would last way longer, so there wouldn’t be as much need for production of new plastic bags. This is great because the less plastic bags we have to make, the less we have to throw away! If everyone went to the Co-op, this would greatly help the family farms in business. Demand of their produce would go up, but I’m not sure if supply can keep up because the farmer’s have limited land, workers, and resources. Another perk to having everyone shop at farmers’ markets is that it boosts the community’s economy.  According to Hughes and his colleagues, “They(Farmers’ markets) tend to draw people downtown that otherwise would not be there. Many of these people, as well as vendors, will then shop in the surrounding stores because they are convenient. The result is favorable attitudes about the downtown among consumers and vendors.”

Could this really happen if the consumers demanded organic drinks?

In terms of government budget, the government spending on health care would go down. Generally, food prices at the co-ops or farmers’ markets are more expensive than that of regular grocery stores. Therefore, the amount of meat, for example, a person can buy becomes significantly reduced. With reduced amount of certain types of food, one’s diet will become healthier. “Lowered meat consumption would yield significant public health benefits, particularly a reduction in heart disease, several cancers, and other chronic diseases. These diseases largely contribute to the epidemic of obesity” (Horrigan). Currently in the United States, we spend $174 billion for diabetes, and that’s more than the health care spending on smoking (Center of Disease Control and Prevention).


Obesity can lead to cardiovascular disease, which is currently the number one cause of death in the United States.

If the obesity rates declined due to people going to the Co-ops more, then the government spending on diabetes medical care would decline as well.


Works Cited

Hughes, M. E. & Mattson, R. H. (1995). Farmers markets in Kansas: A profile of vendors and market organization. Report of Progress 658. Manhattan: Kansas State University, Agricultural Experiment Station.

How sustainable agriculture can address the environmental and human health harms of industrial agriculture. Leo Horrigan, Robert S Lawrence, Polly Walker. Environ Health Perspective. 2002 May; 110(5): 445-456.

Center of Disease Control and Prevention. 2012. Overweight and Obesity. Retrieved from



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