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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    45 years later, Food Conspiracy Co-op still thrives on Fourth Avenue

    Jesus Barrera

    Mikey Torres shops for groceries on Wednesday afternoon at the food conspiracy Co-Op market. Torres has been shopping at the market for four years because he likes the quality of the food.

    We have all been warned about the effects of artificial foods and urged to consciously think about from where our groceries come. This day and age, fresh, organic products are all the rage, and here in Tucson, it’s easy to access them — now more than ever.

    With grocery stores like Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s and Sprouts Farmers Market on every corner, the accessibility is higher than it has ever been before. But Tucsonans don’t have to limit their heath food shopping endeavors to these national chains.

    They can shop local at Fourth Avenue’s Food Conspiracy Co-Op, which has existed in Tucson since 1971.

    While decades may have passed and times may have changed, the Co-Op’s mission to provide locally sourced organic food to the Tucson community has not.

    “I definitely eat my fair share of conventional foods, but I love working here,” said Michael Sadat, a grocery and wellness clerk at the Co-Op. “Just being around the store, I’ve for sure noticed that I tend to eat healthier and more organic.I like that.”

    Walking in, you’ll immediately notice this isn’t your average grocery store. Craving something dairy free? Look no further. Spices in bulk? The Co-Op can help.

    This one-of-a-kind market serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from its very own Conspiracy Kitchen, along with freshly baked goods and a full-fledged market.

    “The Co-Op has everything from produce, to organic local food that is up to 200 miles away and typical items like beer and wine,” said Kelly Watters, the Co-Op’s education outreach manager. “We do really try to keep everything hands-on and local here.”

    Not only is the food local, but unlike other grocery stores, the same people who shop here own this establishment: Tucson locals. A co-op is defined as a business that is “jointly owned or managed by those who use its facilities or services.” And when it comes to this independent market, there are over 3,800 people in Tucson who are members. This is what makes the Co-Op so unique — the owners are the buyers and there is a democratic structure that meets the needs of the consumers.

    “We have the flexibility and adaptability of a small business as well as the community support from our members and those that live in Tucson,” Watters said.

    The loyalty from the Tucson community has been great for Food Conspiracy Co-Op, allowing the business to thrive.

    Like anything native to Tucson, this market is one of a kind. But whether you are a member or not, get healthy, eat your greens and support your local economy. 

    Check out the Co-Op. 

    Follow Natasha Castanedo on Twitter

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