4th Street Food Co-op is open to the public, but is operated entirely via member labor. Working members receive a discount. It's also possible to join as a nonworking member. Read on to find out more about Co-ops in general, and our core values. Find more information on the membership process here.
What is a Cooperative?
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. Membership is open without regard to gender, race, or social, political, or religious beliefs.
We are a non-profit enterprise (though not a 501c3 organization). All proceeds are used for store maintenance, operations, & charitable donations. Benefits for members come in the form of discounts on already moderately priced goods. We currently have no paid staff, and depend on work commitments from members.
Some of Our Core Values that Make Us Different
We have managed to replace almost all of the "corporate organic" non-produce made by companies owned by multinationals not meeting our ethical standards. "Convenience" is a big selling point for many stores. The co-op makes it convenient to support local and independently owned businesses that have strong principles. We stock fair trade products whenever applicable and possible. By adhering to social criteria and environmental principles, fair trade organizations foster a more equitable and sustainable system of production and trade that benefits people and their communities. Read more about our ethical choices.
We make it easy to feel good about your purchases - simply by stepping in the door, you are supporting people who are doing good work. Our commitment to ethics, quality and pedigree of product differentiates us from commercial grocery stores only concerned with the cost, turnover, and profit margin of goods.
Our refrigerators, lights, electronics and everything else are powered by 100% wind power through New Wind Energy. All of the household products we sell are environmentally friendly.
Everyone is here because they share common values and ideals and wish to support an organization that makes it possible for the community to purchase locally grown, vegetarian, fair trade, high-quality, organic products at a reasonable price. The co-op is OUR co-op and we make it as great as we want it to be.
Working with other community groups that share similar values, we support local fundraisers and charitable organizations. We want to make New York City - and the world - a better place and we offer products that reflect this goal.
In 1995, we replaced the Good Food Coop, which began in 1973 as a buying club and became a storefront food cooperative. We evolved into a mostly-organic health food store. We are presently run by unpaid Working Members, who get discounts in exchange for their work, and some of whom volunteer extra time. We serve the community we live in. We are comprised of a large body of working members and non-working members, and we have a core structure of 9 working-groups responsible for coop administration and maintenance.
See this article in New York Magazine that mentions us.
And one in the Villager too!