When our co-op was founded in 1975, the goal was to make healthy foods and products more accessible in a region where options were limited.
Since then, our area has seen its fair share of changes. As mega-corporations moved in, many local grocery stores disappeared entirely, making locally-sourced goods more difficult to find and leaving many residents — and entire neighborhoods in some cases — without convenient access to healthy foods. That’s where we come in, bridging the gaps between our community and the healthy, sustainably-produced products they need.
In 2021, healthy and organic foods are far more widely available than they were in previous decades, but there are still many barriers to access, from geographic to economic. We believe it’s important for residents of urban neighborhoods and rural communities to have convenient access to healthy foods, even if they may not have access to a vehicle. We also believe that price shouldn’t prevent anyone from accessing healthy foods.
So we have stayed downtown to provide a convenient source of healthy foods for the surrounding neighborhoods and to help ensure that downtown Morgantown continues to be an amazing place to live, work, and play. By collaborating with other local and regional businesses to develop a cooperative purchasing initiative, we are working toward decreasing costs on essential items to make them affordable for more people.
We take many factors into consideration when pricing products, including the cost of our producers’ time, labor, and expertise in their trade, and we work to make our products as budget-friendly as possible for our customers. In addition, we are proud to accept SNAP, and we are partnering with the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition to participate in the SNAP Stretch program, which provides shoppers with additional purchasing power while generating additional revenue for local farms.
The co-op’s mission is to provide healthful and nutritious foods and supplies to its members at the lowest cost consistent with sound economy and good management and to offer these same products to the community at large. As we carry out this mission, we are very intentionally working to keep our memberships affordable, to expand the ways in which customers can pay for goods, to address food access and other local challenges, to deal fairly with local vendors and business customers, to be a source of education, and to make charitable contributions when possible. When you support Mountain People’s Co-op, you’re supporting more than just our staff and our partners — you’re directly supporting your community and your local economy.