Chico Natural Foods Co-op is a natural foods consumer cooperative, which means we're owned by our shoppers! Anyone can become an owner, and everyone can shop here regardless of ownership. We now serve over 3000 active owners with gross annual sales nearing $6 million. Owners receive a portion of our profits each year. A board of directors (democratically elected by owners) holds responsibility for ensuring the Co-op meets the needs of the owners and that our resources are used wisely.
You can learn more about co-ops at the National Co-op Grocers website.
In 1973, 15 Chico families banded together as a buying club to bring a new way of choosing food to the local community. They wanted an alternative to food that was over-processed, sugary, or contained pesticides, herbicides, and artificial additives. The buying club grew from a parking lot meeting-spot to a store front and was located at 15th St. and Park Ave, 1st and Orange, and for a short time right across the street from its current location at 8th St. and Main St in 1988.
CNFC functioned as a non-profit until December of 2001 when the members voted to convert to a legal Cooperative and become a member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association. The process was completed in June 2004 when the Co-op sold its first Member-Owner Equity Shares. Today the Co-op has over 3,000 owners and continues to uphold its original purpose as a place to buy products that are healthy for both the consumer and the environment.
CNFC is involved in the Butte County community in many ways:
- Chefs Move to Schools. The Co-op Kitchen is in the classroom! Co-op cooks and educators have partnered with Hooker Oak Elementary School's Garden Education Program to teach kids about how delicious eating healthy can be. Students are given age-appropriate instruction on how to prepare different items made with local ingredients.
- Free Cooking Demos at The Galley. Once a month our Co-op Kitchen team choose a recipe and give a free demo on how to cook using sustainable and local foods, as well as basic cooking techniques. Hosted at The Galley in Chico
- Bag Token Program. Every three months, the Co-op makes a significant donation to two non-profit community organizations. Our shoppers decide how those funds are allocated by voting with our Bag Tokens. Shoppers receive tokens by bringing their own shopping bags to the store. We reward environment consciousness with charity!
- Donations. CNFC provides food and drink sponsorship to numerous local organizations and events. We want to make sure that everyone has access to the most sustainable, healthy, and delicious food possible!
- Co-op Artist Series. Every year we hire a local artist to design a Co-op t-shirt!