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Support Local: Kent Natural Foods Co-op

It can be difficult to find quality organic, vegetarian and vegan trustworthy food on campus while still maintaining a budget, but Kent Natural Foods Cooperative is changing that. Located at 151 E. Main St., the co-op provides you with the healthiest food possible, ranging from fresh, local and organic produce to different types of herbs and all-natural health care products.

What’s the main reason to support the co-op? A sense of community and embracing the local culture of the area.

Kent Natural Foods Cooperative began in 1971 after the tragedy on May 4. Local people of the Kent community—students and non-students—came together and decided the co-op should not only be a healthy foods store, but a shop that also supports the arts community.

In 1992, Jeff Ingram, Kent co-op bulk buyer and facilities coordinator, evolved the store, transforming it from a private foods store to a community store.

“The Kent co-op is a community-centered business and we like to provide food to the community that is healthy for the people and the planet,” Ingram says. “Syntheses moves around those ideas—downtown Kent and keeping things local, having a nice downtown. It has been renovated quite a bit. We like to see the arts and healthy food be a part of that renaissance.”

By joining the Kent Natural co-op membership program for a one-time fee of $15, you will receive 5 percent off every purchase. Another benefit of the membership is that you will be notified on sales and special deals—similar to a rewards program.

Not only do you receive 5 percent off and exclusive deals, but when you visit the co-op, you will also learn about local events in the Kent community.

“Definitely go to the co-op—everything you are eating is either fair trade, locally grown or locally raised, free range chickens, vegan and vegetarian options,” says Armando Bassiet, a fashion design student and employee of the co-op. “There is lots of community involvement.”

He says the co-op encourages people to join their meetings, give them feedback and let them know where the co-op can improve. Bassiet is also passionate in saying, “Every shift I hear from at least two different customers who are throwing an event and want to put their flyer up on the wall.”

“It is easy to stay within the university community when you live on campus,” Bassiet says. “I felt like it was a small little town that didn’t have much to offer. Working at the co-op has opened my eyes to see that there is so much going on in the community. Kent locally cultivates events in the arts, music and performances—all from the local Kent community.”

The co-op allows you to connect with events and community while providing  products that influence healthy lifestyle choices.

“I encourage all Kent State students to come down and visit us and become a member,” Ingram says. “Help build a better community.”  

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