Cooperatives as we know them today got their start in Rochdale, England in the 1840’s. A group of striking flannel weavers got together and formed their own store to buy food at affordable prices. What made this cooperative different from previous ones was that the Rochdale Pioneers developed basic rules and principles by which to run their co-op.
Modern co-ops still look to these principles as a framework for their businesses. Today there are many types of cooperatives: agricultural, utility, insurance, and consumer – like the East End Food Co-op. In the 1970’s, there were several food co-ops in the Pittsburgh area. Our co-op began as a supplier to these co-ops who were looking to provide healthy, natural foods to their members–foods that were not available at conventional grocers at the time.
East End Food Co-op is the last natural foods co-op left in Pittsburgh from those original, back-to-nature stores. We have grown and changed over time, but our reason for being here remains the same–to bring good food to people at fair prices, and to spread word about the benefits of cooperative ownership.