One of the core values of Prairie Food Co-op is sustainability and that carries over into the design of our grocery store. The co-op's "Green Team" is working hard to determine which sustainable design options can be implemented. As a community supported business, we rely on our community to invest in this project. The more the community invests, the more opportunity we will have to implement green design elements.
We are excited to share the following analysis prepared for the Co-op by students at North Central College in collaboration with PFC Owner and Director of Sustainability at North Central College, Brittany Drummond. The Co-op's Green Team will use this excellent analysis to guide our store design process. Just click on the picture to see the full analysis (the text is small so you probably need to increase the text size while viewing in your browser).
Cooperatives are at the forefront of green design. Co-ops build stores and operate in a way that reduces their carbon footprint (and grocery stores can have a big footprint). Measures include any of the following - all highlighted in the analysis referenced above:
Co-op stores are often sited in areas that are walkable or accessible using public transportation. Bike racks and programs to encourage walking/biking/public transit are seen at many co-ops. Some even have electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. At 109 South Main, Prairie Food Co-op will be across from the commuter train station and easily walkable/bikeable for many residents.
Puget Consumers Co-op Market
was the first business in Seattle to install solar panels and also among the first to embrace local utility green power programs. Many food co-ops use solar panels to offset their energy consumption. Prairie Food Co-op will research opportunities to offest/subsidize the higher upfront cost of solar panels to determine if this is a viable option for our store.
Food Waste Reduction
Here again, food co-ops lead the way in composting and recycling programs. Because composting and recycling offer low cost opportunity, expect to see composting and recycling programs at Prairie Food Co-op.
Many co-ops have goals of reducing/eliminating petroleum-based packaging (or have already done so). Prairie Food Co-op will have a large bulk section where shoppers can reuse packaging and save money. In addition, we hope to have programs focused on reducing consumer reliance on plastics - and plenty of in-store opportunities to avoid plastic and other packaging.
Our store will be designed and operated with energy efficiency in mind — we can optimize the daylighting and supplement lighting with high-efficiency LED fixtures. Many co-ops also have systems that capture waste heat from refrigeration to heat spaces and water and our planning team is investigating this option.
Climate change is real, is happening and there’s a lot we can do about it. We would love for Prairie Food Co-op to serve as an example of how a business can work to reduce it's carbon footprint.