The Food For All Program began when the Durham Co-op Market began – giving everyone in our community access to healthy, affordable food is a huge part of our core mission as a Co-op. We began by offering a 10% discount to owners who are eligible to receive Food Stamps – but after one year, we realized it wasn’t enough of a discount to make our store truly accessible to our low-income neighbors. It was then that we decided to create a Round Up program for the purpose of funding an additional 10% discount to Food For All owners, bringing the discount up to 20% and making our prices more comparable to local chains like Food Lion. The Round Up program and the increase to 20% off both achieved their intended goals: we saw a big increase in people signing up for FFA memberships and shopping more at the store, and we are successfully funding that additional discount through our Round Up program.
Our Round Up program successfully covers at least 10% of the 20% discount for our FFA owners, meaning that over half of the program is funded directly by our community. The Co-op covers the remaining 10%. It is significant to us to be able to sustain our Food For All discount through our own community’s support, without relying on external fundraising. Our local Durham community is investing in access to healthy food for our whole community.
Two of our key values as a Co-op are:
• Create an open, inclusive, and diverse store that welcomes our community.
• Make high-quality, nourishing food affordable and accessible.
Our Food For All and Round Up programs make these values a reality. The objective is to make sure that cost is truly not a barrier for anyone who wants to access healthy food and be a part of our cooperative economy.
The Durham Co-op Market has 484 FFA owners, which is roughly 10% of our overall ownership. The rise in membership once we increased our discount to 20% has shown us that the program is actually having an impact in making our store more accessible, and removing barriers to healthy food for all members of our community. The success of the program has also been shown through the community’s participation in the Round Up program, which is able to sustain the additional discount for our Food for All members.
“ We are committed to making the Durham Co-op accessible to everyone in our neighborhood, and the Food For All program makes that possible. We’re especially proud to be able to offer a 20% discount to Food For All owners, and to sustain that discount through the contributions of our community in our Round Up program.” - Leila Wolfrum, General Manager