Exploring Community Food Co-ops

Exploring Community Food Co-ops

Co-ops are a brand new world for me personally. A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

Just this year, I have attended a few co-op focused events for the first time, in hopes of expanding my understanding of these types of organizations. So far I’m quite intrigued by what I’ve uncovered..

At the suggestion of brilliant Elena Yunosov, I signed up to hear Douglas Rushkoff speak at his Critical Crossroads discussion at the Toronto Reference Library, where he asked “is growth necessary for a thriving economy?”


I came to better understand some of the inner workings of these organizations thanks to the many experts speaking at the Platform Cooperativism weekends seminar, and had the opportunity to chat briefly chatted with Danny Golnik of Direct Co-ops during intermission.


I’ve learned that Co-operatives are based on the values of self-helpself-responsibilitydemocracyequalityequity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Just this week, I learned about Karma Co-op from a neighbour, and fellow Hillcrest community member. Karma can be found on an unassuming side street, nearby the busy Bathurst and Bloor intersection. It’s a little out of my way personally, but I really like that they support a lot of small local suppliers..

To name a few…

  • Best Baa Dairy
  • AMJ Health Food Distributors
  • Beretta Family Farms
  • Ontario Natural Food Company
  • Nutrispring
  • Hewitt’s Dairy
  • Denman Island
  • Organic Connections
  • Temples Sugar Bush
  • Mad Mexican
  • Neal Brothers
  • 100 KM Foods Inc.
  • Chocosol Traders
  • Sigrid Naturals
  • Giddy Yo-Yo
  • Mahem Bars
  • Galerie au Chocolat
  • Bee Queen Honey
  • Hoffnung
  • Don Gingerich
  • Stasis preserves
  • Anarres Natural Health
  • North on Sixty
  • Kitimai Coffee
  • Merchant of Green Coffee

Like most food coops, in comparison to big box stores karma offers a notably higher % of bulk and zero waste selections. The organization is member-owned and democratically controlled, so every member can respectively offer input to be considered in regards to operations and best practices.

Karma offers monthly discounts to those who volunteer on-site labor or are unable to work, (parenting leave, disability, etc) which serves to highlight their commitment to inclusiveness and community thinking.

Personally I think some of the products may be a little (respectfully) granola for my taste, which is sometimes the case with health-food type shops, however, I’m still kind of swooning over Karma regardless 💖

Check back soon to hear more about our upcoming Field Trip to Karma!

Want to join us?

What are your thoughts on cooperative platforms?

Would you consider joining a local coop?

Do you have any reservations in regards to these platforms?

Is there a similar outlet in your neighbourhood?

What brands and products would you be interested in buying from a local co-op

*In the spirit of full disclosure and transparency, please know that Platform Cooperativism did extend a sponsored press pass to their weekend event.

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