The Story of Westwood Food Coop

The Story of Westwood Food Coop

In partnership with the Westwood community, Re:Vision is incubating the Westwood Food Coop; Denver’s first community owned urban food hub and cooperative grocery store. It is one of the first food hubs in the country that is owned and operated by consumers, producers, and employees.

Westwood is a neighborhood, like hundreds of others across the US, which are labeled as “a food desert,” meaning most of its residents don’t have access to healthy affordable food. Living in a food desert is a struggle. Residents suffer from health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. With few local stores to draw a customer base and revenue, the neighborhood and its residents lack economic opportunity.

The Westwood Food Coop will be owned and operated by residents in Westwood, making healthy food affordable and accessible, and bringing investment back into the community.

The 74,000 square foot site was purchased in 2014, and will include a commercial kitchen & food hub, a grocery store, a café, a co-working space, and a community fitness center – all accessible right in the heart of the neighborhood on Morrison Road.

When visiting the Westwood Food Co-op, you will see residents of Westwood shopping, because it is a close, affordable, option where any resident of the community can become a member. When you go to the produce aisle, alongside more conventionally sourced produce, you could pick out carrots and tomatoes that were grown right down the block, because gardening families in the community can become producer members and sell their excess produce to the co-op. At the register, the cashier will be one of 30+ employees from the neighborhood, because the co-op employs locally. There will be classes on canning or producing salsas run by the community in the commercial kitchen. There will be members of the community packaging and preparing food for Denver-wide distribution in the food hub. And there will be kids playing safely in a courtyard built for special community events.

Every single one of these members has a vote to elect a board of directors and weigh in on big decisions. As a multi-stakeholder cooperative (meaning consumers, producers, and employees can all be members) each member has a voice, ownership, and the opportunities for rewards. At the end of the year, if the cooperative is profitable, dividends will be distributed to each member based on their contributions to the cooperative.

This model is ground breaking, with few others like it in the country. It integrates food production, distribution, and consumption from soil to plate. Now is the time to help us build this monumental contribution to Denver, from the ground-up.

The construction-site for the Westwood Food Co-op is a retired junk-yard. It’s a lot of work to reform this plot of abandoned land into a food oasis. We’re looking for every-kind of support to build the Westwood Food Co-op, brick by brick.

There is a lot to do. We are growing neighborhood-driven solutions, and we need everyone to make them a reality. Join us!

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