Other Avenues Natural Food Cooperative, a cooperative grocery store located in San Francisco’s Sunset neighborhood, provides affordable, accessible, healthy, and sustainable food products. Since its opening in 1974, Other Avenues has been driven by the goal of supporting and promoting sustainable communities. It has been a fully worker-owned democratic cooperative since 1999, and its workers manage the store by making business decisions using a consensus model. The store diverts 83% of all its solid waste from landfill to either recycling or compost, uses energy efficient methods in store operations, and offers health education seminars for the public.
Other Avenues is dedicated to maintaining a thriving business, providing food and supplies for sustainable living; supporting organic and local farms, cooperatives, and other small businesses, and serving as a model of workplace democracy for the greater community. The store prioritizes organic, sustainable, vegetarian and fairtrade products, educates customers on the political implications of their choices when purchasing items, and avoids preservatives, products with GMO ingredients, artificial flavors, and unnecessary packaging.
Acting as a community nexus, Other Avenues provides a place for community members to find, connect, and organize with one another, and encourages community building. “Grocery stores tend to be an anchor for other businesses to come. Our presence helps encourage independent business in the neighborhood,” says Wayne Landers, Co-owner at Other Avenues.
In 2013 Community Vision provided this innovative community resource with a $1.065 million loan to refinance existing debt on its store property. “The stability of the store was made immensely stronger. Now we’re not renting and not at whim of a landlord. We get to make ownership of the building more secure, since Community Vision is in alignment with our mission,” says Landers. “This is HUGE.”