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OUR CO-OP

Why a grocery cooperative?

There are not many grocery stores in East Biloxi. In fact, the Department of Agriculture considers it a food desert. In 2019, the East Biloxi Community Collaborative conducted a comprehensive community needs assessment and learned that access to healthy food was the top priority for residents. Community leaders have tried for years to attract a large chain grocery store, but they just won’t come even as the area continues to grow and develop. ​

The East Biloxi Food Market was started by a community of people who believe that if we pool our energy and resources together, we can open our own store. We can provide a diversity of fresh, healthy, local foods at affordable prices while also increasing community health and wealth. With your support, we can open a grocery cooperative that is owned and controlled by us.

We exist to serve our community — it’s what sets us apart from traditional grocery stores. We work together to help support and sustain a local food economy. 

The Co-Op Difference 

A grocery cooperative is owned by the people who live and shop at the store. Because of this, we are uniquely positioned to keep dollars locally. More of the profits stay in our community. In fact, for every dollar spent in a co-op grocery store, on average a little over $1.60 is generated in the local economy. This is because of the multiplier effect. Grocery cooperatives hire local people and generate local jobs by buying from local producers, farmers, and makers, and when the store is profitable, all of those profits are shared with all the member-owners who live and shop there. 

Learn more about:

The Co-Op Movement

Cooperative businesses are part of a global movement to advance a people-centered economy. Over one billion people worldwide are part of cooperative enterprises. There are over 64,000 cooperatives and over 500 grocery cooperatives in the United States alone. 

 

One of the first examples of cooperative businesses in Mississippi was in 1929. It was led by Black farmers. The National Federation of Colored Farmers, Inc. (NFCF) and also Delta Cooperative Farm started in 1936 provided a way for Black farmers to pool their resources together and achieve a level of economic independence. The cooperative movement resurfaced during the 1960s under the leadership of Fannie Lou Hamer. Hamer is most known as the founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, but she also started the Freedom Farm Cooperative. She is famously quoted for describing cooperatives as, "letting local people do their thing for themselves.” Together, we can do our thing for ourselves. We can work toward our common goal of increasing access to healthy and affordable food in East Biloxi. 

We couldn’t do this without you — you are the co-op difference!

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