USD $19.99 / CAD $19.99

Paperback – 304 pages 
6 Inches × 9 Inches (w × h)

Weight: 353 Grams
BISAC: BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Food Industry
Publisher: New Society Publishers
ISBN: 9780865719071
Pub. Date: 2019-05-07

About the Book

Food has become ground-zero in our efforts to increase awareness of how our choices impact the world. Yet while we have begun to transform our communities and dinner plates, the most authoritative strand of the food web has received surprisingly little attention: the grocery store—the epicenter of our food-gathering ritual.

Through penetrating analysis and inspiring stories and examples of American and Canadian food co-ops, Grocery Story makes a compelling case for the transformation of the grocery store aisles as the emerging frontier in the local and good food movements. Author Jon Steinman:

  • Deconstructs the food retail sector and the shadows cast by corporate giants

  • Makes the case for food co-ops as an alternative

  • Shows how co-ops spur the creation of local food-based economies and enhance low-income food access.

Grocery Story is for everyone who eats. Whether you strive to eat more local and sustainable food, or are in support of community economic development, Grocery Story will leave you hungry to join the food co-op movement in your own community.

About the Author


Jon Steinman has studied and worked with all things food for over two decades. He was the producer and host of the internationally syndicated radio show and podcast Deconstructing Dinner, once ranked as the most-listened-to food podcast in Canada. Jon is the writer and host of Deconstructing Dinner: Reconstructing our Food System – a television and web series currently streaming online. Jon coordinates and curates the annual Deconstructing Dinner Film Festival of compelling food documentaries and was an elected director from 2006-2016 of the Kootenay Co-op – Canada's largest independent retail consumer food co-op, serving as Board President from 2014-2016. Other initiatives Jon has been a part of include the Kootenay Grain CSA - Canada’s first community supported agriculture project for grain, G.E. Free Kootenays - successfully lobbied municipalities to restrict the cultivation of genetically engineered plants and trees, the Nelson Flour Milling Co-op, and Heddlestone Village Cohousing Community. He lives in Nelson, British Columbia.

Praise for Grocery Story

A great read! Full of energy and eyes-wide-open hope. In an era of extreme economic concentration, Jon Steinman awakens us to elements of an arising democratic economy, hidden in plain sight. Grocery Story is, above all, an empowering tale we need now more than ever.”

---Frances Moore Lappé, author, Diet for a Small Planet and Daring Democracy.

Steinman skillfully blends the history of food retailing with contemporary examples to explain how cooperative food stores consistently have served as a principled alternative and moderating influence on corporate consolidation of food retailing in North America.

---John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia

Wake up folks! Co-ops are cool. They bring power back to conscious citizenship. The ecological and justice advantages, are clear. Go on over to your local food co-op, sign up, and lend a hand. Co-ops are democracy at work, in an age calling out for common sense.

---Joel Solomon, co-author The Clean Money Revolution

Not just a “must-read” for advocates and participants of the local food movement, it is a “must-implement” to pave the way toward a sustainable and just food system for us all.

---Rob Greenfield, author, Dude Making a Difference

This book offers an important consideration of the impact that can happen when going to the grocery store becomes an activity and not a chore, and when a grocery cart can ultimately become a vehicle for social change.

---Melissa Cohen, General Manager, Isla Vista Food Co-op

This book is on par with many of the other food books that have inspired me – Diet for a Dead Planet, Food Politics, Slow Money, Stolen Harvest, Fast Food Nation, Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food

---Ari Derfel, General Manager, Kootenay Co-op / past Executive Director, Slow Money / co-founder, Gather Restaurant

The mantra of the dominant capitalist economy - 'if it profitable it will be done' - is filling our oceans with plastic, maintaining the use of fossil fuels, driving climate change, creating enormous and growing income inequality, fueling the sixth massive extinction of species and much more. Jon Steinman's Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants explores how capitalism distorts the food system from farm to plate. A pleasure to read and is crammed with valuable information, stories and analysis. If you eat, you should give this book a read.

---Tom Webb, Cooperative Management Education, Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary’s University / author, From Corporate Globalization to Global Co-operation

I cannot recommend this book enough. I found it to be an impressive synthesis of critical analysis of systemic societal ills and a very practical "how-to" manual on how to address them. This is literally the best thing I've read about cooperatives, monopolization / oligopolization, and the industrial food system IN AGES.

---Christopher DeAngelis, Food Co-op Manager (past Apple Street Market Cooperative / Mariposa Food Co-op)

Cooperatives provide an alternative that helps us reclaim control over our food systems and communities. Steinman presents a clear and engaging historical perspective on the evolution of our food co-ops and illustrates the many benefits that they offer their owners and customers by sharing the stories of co-ops today. Grocery Story should be required reading for anyone helping to organize a new food co-op and everyone who cares at all about their food.

---Stuart Reid, Executive Director, Food Co-op Initiative / past General Manager, Just Food Co-op and Seward Co-op

With a clear-eyed analysis of the strengths and challenges of food co-ops, Jon Steinman shows us we can confront the power of food retailers and create an inclusive, health promoting and sustainable food system.

---Rod McRae, Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University / Associate Researcher, Centre for Studies in Food Security, Ryerson University

In a world where corporate agribusiness hides behind pioneering organic brands, the curated offerings at the nation's member-owned grocery cooperatives serve as a true farmers market, seven days a week. It's worth studying the history of how and why food co-ops formed as a model to ensure continuing access and authenticity in an alternative local and organic food supply.

---Mark Kastel, Cornucopia Institute