Own the Shelves! Voting With Our Food Dollars is Not Enough


Consumer-owned grocery store shelves!

“Vote with your wallet” is a go-to mantra among those of us who support strong local economies. But the quality of those votes are only as good as the choices we have available to vote for.

Voting with our dollars at the grocery store can only go so far if the choices available are being throttled by a handful of chain retailers and a handful of dominant food manufacturers. If all we have are two mayonnaise manufacturers to choose from or a few ketchup brands that are paying the chain retailers handsomely to access their shelves, are we really able to ‘vote’ for the food system we want?

Community-owned grocery stores offer an alternative. They empower eaters beyond the shelves by allowing eaters to own the shelves and be part of the process of determining the food choices available.

Jon Steinman