In 1976, a small group of community members founded a buying club to bring organic food to Brooklyn. Since then, Flatbush Food Co-op has established itself as a cooperative business that works to serve its neighbors and community.
Our commitment to wholesome foods includes selling only organic produce, focusing on local foods, and providing vegan and gluten-free products. Our dedication to convenience and service means our store is open when you need it and staffed with helpful and knowledgeable community members.
Everyone can shop, and anyone can join! By becoming a Member-Owner you enjoy the many benefits of democratic participation in a community-owned business.
A brief history of Flatbush Food Co-op
Co-op initiated as Tenth Street Co-op in Midwood by a group of 11 community minded individuals, concerned about the environment and interested in organic food.
The Co-op operated as a buying club, which initially met monthly to pre-order dry goods. As interest grew, these orders were supplemented with weekly distribution of organic fruits and vegetables. All members volunteered time, and goods were distributed from the basement of a residential home. Within two years, the Co-op had 100 members and began to retain a small inventory, which was accumulated by charging a small mark-up on pre-ordered goods.
Members secured a vacant, 700 square foot store on East 16th Street near the Avenue H train station and the co-op opened as 16th Street Co-op.
Barry Smith, one of volunteer managers and original founding members, hired as first paid General Manager. Co-op incorporated and expanded to three paid staff.
At Co-op’s first retreat, Board of Directors established to facilitate more efficient governance. Co-op opened for first time to non-member shoppers.
Co-op moved to 1318 Cortelyou Road, a 2,100 square foot storefront on Cortelyou Road, and changed its name to Flatbush Food Co-op.
During our 23 years at this location, the Co-op’s membership grew from 300 to more than 3,000, our staff from five to 25, and sales grew tenfold. After a decade at this site, it had become clear that we had outgrown the space, and we spent many years trying to expand to a larger or second location.
On April 17, 2008, after almost two years of negotiations followed by extensive renovations, the Co-op opened for business at 1415 Cortelyou Road, a building diagonally across the street from the previous location with three times the retail space.
Mission & Values
Flatbush Food Co-op exists so that people in our community have a thriving cooperatively owned retail business providing:
- Products and services that promote personal and environmental well being
- Organic and natural
- Produced using sustainable agricultural practices
- Produced in ways that treat workers fairly and ethically
- Opportunities for varying levels of participation by our members
- A work environment that involves and empowers employees
- A positive, respectful shopping environment that is accessible to all
- Education about cooperation, health, nutrition and environmental issues