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Natural Awakenings Healthy Living Magazine

Everyone’s Welcome to Shop at People’s Co-Op

The People’s Food Co-op (PFC) is Ann Arbor’s only full-service downtown grocery store, serving the community with a full range of groceries, produce and environmentally sensitive cleaning products, putting an emphasis on local, sustainable and organic items. They are owned by the community, so every dollar spent at PFC helps to grow the local economy. The PFC café offers organic and fair-trade coffee, as well as hot-bar and salad-bar meals, and a grab-n-go cooler filled with premade meals. Everyone is welcome to shop at the co-op, not just the member-owners.

            The Co-op was founded in February 1971 when a group of health-centered activists organized around a desire for fresh and natural foods originally obtained at Detroit’s Eastern Market. Allied with the development of the Michigan Federation of Food Coops, a storefront and food warehouse were created to serve growing interest in the community. The early example of the PFC and People’s Warehouse helped lead the way for numerous food-buying clubs and eventually several storefront food co-ops across the state over the next few years.

            Experienced PFC staff works with local, regional and international growers and vendors to provide an array of healthy options that meet the needs of our diverse community, prioritizing products that are locally grown or produced; Certified Organic or following organic practices; clean, non-GMO and free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, fragrances, antibiotics, growth hormones, herbicides or pesticides; and socially responsible, which means produced or distributed cooperatively using fair trade on a small scale.

            The co-op has a mission to care about the environment, access to healthy food and the sustainability of the community, including the products and the organizations they support. Working together with shoppers, PFC donated approximately 7,594 pounds of food in 2020. To minimize food waste, they work with local food rescues and partner with MYGreenMi to compost food that cannot be eaten. In 2020, they diverted about 69,888 pounds of food scraps and compostable material away from landfills, as well as around 500,000 pounds of cardboard, glass, metal and plastic. PFC has not provided single-use plastic grocery bags since September 2019 and donated more than $21,000 to local nonprofit organizations through their Round Up At The Register program in 2020.

            While corporate grocers have also embraced natural and organic foods, PFC still plays an important role in the community. Their continued commitment to core values, democratic leadership and community ownership through the years is what differentiates them from traditional competitors.


The People’s Food Co-op is located at 216 N. Fourth Ave., in Ann Arbor. For more information, call 734-994-9174 or visit