I detest going to Wal-Mart. The second I step foot inside the door, the overpowered AC vents blasting my hair into oblivion like I’m entering a NASA clean room, I’m bombarded by waves of sound that convey the anger, frustration and at times, hysteria that have people reverting to caveman-like tendencies for items that are only slightly cheaper than name brand products, often at the sacrifice of quality.
At least that’s what’s going on in my head.
I’m mostly a passive person, so dealing with the hassle of agitated cashiers and fruit that never seems to be in season is a little more than I can handle at times. As of late, I’ve been getting my food fix elsewhere in hopes that a little less stress in my day to day won’t cause me to go gray by 30.
Good Foods Market & Café, located at 455 Southland Dr. in Lexington, Ky., has become my safe haven. Filled with locally grown edibles, Good Foods Co-op was founded in 1972 as a buying club that included organic and other non-adulterated, minimally processed whole foods. It began in Lexington residents’ living rooms, and grew into what is today a 15,000 square foot market with a café addition, and a classroom space with a fully equipped kitchen.
Good Foods is a co-op, which is owned and operated by its primary members. It is different from a profit-driven business in that it seeks to serve the community owners rather than enrich investors and the profits earned by the co-op can either be refunded to the owners or used to further the development of the business. Anyone can become an owner of Good Foods Market & Café by purchasing one share of the cooperative business. Each owner may only purchase one share of the business and only has one vote in the annual Board of Director elections.
Good Foods offers the peace of mind that larger, corporately-owned retail giants cannot: the knowledge that you, as a buyer, are not detrimentally affecting the local economy, the environment or your health all for the sake of saving a few bucks. They strive to buy and sell products that are produced by local or regional growers and craftspeople, distributed by cooperatives, and in packaging that is minimal and environmentally sound.
It seems that Kentucky has eagerly joined in the “buy local” campaign that has been blowing across the nation the past few years. Buying from local producers not only helps to boost the local economy through a larger percentage of profits being held by residents, but also through a decreased environmental impact that normally have gas-giddy semis rolling up and down the interstate highways. This decreased emphasis on shipping allows growers and producers to put less preservatives and refined sugars into the foods we eat, which in turn allows us to begin buying products that are better for our bodies.
Good Foods Market & Café is just one example of the effort Americans are placing in making locally grown foods commonplace. It is something that keeps jobs in the area and decreases our dependence on larger corporations that are only out for profit and not our well-being. If nothing else, it makes us feel like we could ask any employee where the food came from and they would take pride in detailing the local producers found in the store. Plus, they have some pretty killer trail mixes.