The A2U2 Food Co-op was founded in 1989 as an outreach project of our Social Action Committee. It began with a small group of people who had several goals in mind:
- provide outreach to the community;
- save money on the purchase of quality food and household items, and;
- support local farmers.
We are a co-operative of many sizes of families and households. We desire to purchase the best food at the best prices while protecting the environment and supporting our community.
We place orders every four weeks from several vendors. Our main vendor is United Natural Foods, a distributor of certified organic and natural products. We order fresh, frozen and grocery items as well as cleaning supplies, clothing, personal items and supplements among many other selections. A price list, published each month, is available online to each of our members. Orders are placed online on a special web-based ordering system. We also order organic produce and other farm-based goods from Crown of Maine. Bissons Meats in Topsham provides us with the highest quality natural meats, dairy products and eggs that have never been treated with hormones or antibiotics and come from local farms.
Several times a year, we also order from Frontier Wholesale and from local vendors such as a scallop fisherman, maple syrup farm, butter producer and of course, our famous organic wild blueberries. Members may order individual items for some products; others are ordered by the case, or cases are split between members. Our online ordering system is an easy way to split cases between two or many members. We also have a Surplus table available at our delivery (breakdown) so members can see and try products. Our aim is to support local business whenever possible.
Food Co-op Members
Our co-op supports up to 35 member families. At least half the families are people who are members or friends of our church; the rest come from within the community. Many co-op members have gone on to join our church community! We have a $25 annual fee to cover co-op expenses and a donation to the church for building needs, and this amount is subject to change upon vote of the membership. We ask all prospective members to come to one delivery (breakdown) before making the commitment to becoming a member. Once a new member joins, we ask that they commit to staying with us for a minimum of six months, except in emergencies or if a family moves away. Each member has a co-op job that will take an average of one and a half to two hours per month. Some months it may take less time, occasionally more. Members are expected to do their job regardless of whether they placed an order that particular month.
We operate with a spirit of cooperation and friendship. If someone is unable to do their job in a particular month or we need extra help, we try to pitch in and help each other. We hold two meetings per year (usually October and April), including scrumptious potluck suppers. These meetings are mandatory for our members. Our Steering Committee deals with day-to-day issues and keeps members informed by email.