Harmony Hosts Book Tour
You might have noticed a large white van with a basket of food painted on the sides parked in front of Harmony Co-op on Monday, September 23rd. This was no ordinary van delivery; Harmony was host to a book tour! Author Jon Steinman stopped by our store to sign copies of his book Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants, answer questions, and deliver a presentation on the importance of grocery co-ops.
"Who owns your grocery store?” That’s the question Steinman asks in his book, now out in paperback from New Society Publishers. Steinman, a former radio show and podcast host from Nelson, B.C., became interested in grocery co-ops and “food accountability” when he served on the board of directors of the Kootenay Co-op and presided over its hugely successful remodeling and expansion; his book explores the role of the grocer in shaping the food system, from goods and prices to sourcing, ethics, and community health.
In Canada, as in the United States, a handful of companies control a large share of the grocery market, and those companies have not only come under fire for their involvement in price-fixing but for their product sourcing, environmental concerns, and wage disparity. Grocery co-ops, however, often have beneficial effects on their local community and communities around the world, from affordable, healthy food options (like our Co+op Basics program) to organic products (which aid in minimizing carbon) and fair trade products (which help communities around the world receive fair prices for their goods and develop their own local economies. Co-ops, Steinman argues, maintain integrity in labeling and sourcing (particularly for goods labeled as “local”), work to secure a future in and for their community, and serve as a community center (something we here at Harmony Co-op firmly believe in).
We are thankful to Jon for making Harmony Co-op a stop on his book tour, which has taken him to co-ops all across the United States and Canada, from Maine to British Columbia!