Peoples Food Co-op Review

People’s Food Co-op
3029 SE 21st
Portland, OR 97202
8am – 10pm daily

Compared to many people, I am a hippy. I like waxing poetic about how we are all one with the universe, I ride my bike alot, I get very sad when I see a tree cut down, I think taxes should be raised so that we can keep the libraries and schools open, I appreciate Phish, I love Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and Cat Stevens, I want to join a drum circle group someday, I really want to spend a few months in India, and I feel very guilty when I forget my recyclable bags when I go shopping. In Portland, there are real hippies, however. Hemp clothing, dreads, tie dye, “organic or die” inflexible attitude, handmade woven grocery bags, and glassy smile wearing hippies. I hate to generalize (this is always said right before someone generalizes) but The People’s Food Co-Op is for those more hippy than I. It is a co-op, so the store makes no money, it puts all of its money back into the store, and into numerous programs that are on offer. I wonder if the employees are all volunteers? Maybe so.

It’s a beautiful store, the outside courtyard is straight out of Hobbiton. Curved walls and clay pot artwork. There is a cat hanging out. Inside is cramped, and tight, with many items on top of eachother, just like Bilbo’s house. It was a bit overwhelming in there, trying to push a cart around the small aisles, with our kid in tow. Was a bit stressful when the meeting of carts occurs in an aisle built for one cart. It is almost like a large Farmers Market stand inside, minimal space but loads of produce. There is a bulk section that seemed very popular, but I didn’t really get a good look at the selection since it was crowded on the day I went. Everything is organic, local, and eco-groovy. There is no need to wonder if the produce is of high quality, so I picked up a bunch of stuff that we needed, as quickly as possible, and moved on. The asparagus and beets are HUGE…check it out:

The refrigerated section has ample selection of faux meats, soy yoghurt, almond milk, and gluten free breads. There are a couple aisles for dried goods and condiments and some naturopathic medicines. That’s about it though. It’s small shop. One discovery I found was at the exit, a refrigerator with kombucha and juices, also had some local, fresh deli items. I picked up a Pixie Retreat Kale Salad, and some vegan pasta, both were DELICIOUS.

Prices are similar to New seasons or Whole Foods…loose salad greens are $8.99/lb, that is $2 more than New Seasons, and looked about the same quality. A bunch of kale was $3.49, cucumbers are 99cents each, oranges are $1.49/lb, bunches of lettuce are $1.99 each, organic bananas are 99cents/lb, and apples are $1.99/lb. The produce and the kale/pasta dinner came out to be $53.08. So pretty expensive, I would say, even more so than New Seasons and Whole Foods, and certainly lacking in the selection. But you are supporting a great cause with the co-op, and I can get behind the message. I accidentally asked the lady at the register for a plastic fork for our kale salad, with a subtle look of disapproval she pointed me towards the compostable bamboo forks that they have here. Doh!

Unless you are a member of the co-op, and/or live in the neighborhood, I would skip Peoples Food Co-Op because of price, size and selection of the items. All the goods are very high quality, so maybe stopping by for some lunch items or just enough for tonight’s salad would be the way to do it.

Some pics I took:

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2 thoughts on “Peoples Food Co-op Review

  1. Thanks for the review! As a regular there, I can say, it grows on you. You learn the “flow”, you know. You go in with the right energy and you line your energy up with the people around you and the timing works out like magic (like for getting to the bulk bins and stuff). Also, the more you go, the more hugs you get because people begin to recognize you and stuff. You also get to know like the days certain food is delivered and you find out about tricks like the free bulk food containers (in the drawers). Did you know you can put in bulk orders? They have a catalog at the front you can ask for. Plus, if you go on a Wednesday, they have a farmers market and that’s when it gets really fun. The like $5 I get back every year from being a member is sort of laughable, but being able to say that it’s my co-op, is priceless.

    • yeah, I am a newbie. It is a different shopping experience so I suppose that made me feel out of place. If I lived very near there I would frequent it more. I wish I did live in that neighborhood! thanks for the comment!

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