Guy shopping at Co-op

   The Free Press is distressed to learn that the long-time stalwart resource for healthy foods, progressive literature, and ecologically sustainable products – the Calumet Natural Foods Cooperative a.k.a. the Clintonville Community Market – plans to close its doors no later than October 31 this year. Some of us at the Free Press remember its roots as it began as a germ of an idea at the King Avenue United Methodist Church.
   The reason for its demise is summed up in a letter to the community that reads: “During the past decade, the retail organic/natural food landscape has changed drastically with more competitors, including the larger conventional chains placing much more emphasis on the organic/natural products arena.”
   True, the community now has several Whole Foods stores, Trader Joes, and there are health food sections in Kroger and Giant Eagle (I still wonder at how the rest of the food in the store is categorized, if not for health). But, the suspect forcing the closure in the Clintonville area is more likely Lucky’s Market.          
   A letter published in the Free Press after Lucky’s opened up pointed out that, although the Market provides natural, organic foods and products, it is not a “community” venture like the Co-op. It is a national chain with investors from China, so its profits do not even stay within the community. Lucky’s also banned the Free Press from being given free there, as does Hills Market in downtown Columbus.
  The end of the Clintonville Community Market is an unfortunate concession to corporate capitalism and a blow to the re-localization and community cooperative movements. We hold out hope that something will happen before the end of October to revitalize this valuable entity. 

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