by ARIA JANELLO
The Fredericksburg Food Co-Op works with local businesses and farmers to sell locally-sourced, environment-friendly food and products, according to their website. Some students frequent the new Co-Op and have had positive experiences shopping there.
The Co-Op, which opened in July, is a community-owned grocery store located on Jefferson Davis Highway. It is an option for students who want to eat healthily, care for the environment and become involved in the community at the same time. According to their mission statement, the Co-Op is dedicated to creating “a gathering place for people and ideas” and “sharing best practices in nutrition, wellness, and the benefits of a healthy diet.”
As of July 2021, after many years of planning, the store is open to everyone—no membership needed.
Senior math major Rory Black has been waiting many years for the store to open.
“It’s really nice to see the food Co-Op in action after quite a few years,” said Black. “The project was still a work in progress when I came to UMW as a freshman.”
Instead of shopping at grocery superstores like Giant or Walmart, senior math and computer science major Saraid Satterfield prefers the Co-Op for her groceries.
“The prices are around the same, and knowing your food is locally sourced adds a nice touch,” said Satterfield.
The Fredericksburg Food Co-Op is not a chain; it is one of a kind. By shopping there, students are directly helping the local economy while getting the food they need.
“It’s important to support local farms and business owners,” said Satterfield.
Senior biology major Abbey Vorsteg supports the Co-Op because it allows her to branch out.
“The food co-op makes grocery shopping more fun for me,” said Vorsteg. “There are so many brands that I haven’t previously come into contact with, and it’s fun to try new snacks while also feeling good about being environmentally conscious and helping out the community.”
Black has spent her past three years at UMW going to the farmers market with friends downtown on Saturdays. Instead of waiting for one day a week to shop, the Co-Op opens up her shopping opportunities.
“The food co-op allows me to access local produce and food any day of the week,” said Black.
For students who have dietary needs or restrictions, the Co-Op has options with gluten-free baked goods, vegan meat substitutes (locally sourced tofu from a farm in Woodbridge for example) and dairy-free products.
The Co-Op also hosts a variety of events, like live music and classes, for free. Some of the classes have covered cooking, meeting community leaders and learning about the environmental aspects of food.
For example, earlier this summer, the Fredericksburg Food Co-Op hosted an event titled “Let’s Do Brunch.” At this event, Co-Op employees gave lessons on how to cook healthy breakfast and brunch recipes.