Food for thought

“Buy local,” exclaim the stickers that adorn cars and bikes all around the Reno area. The appropriately green emblems represent the Great Basin Community Food Cooperative, an organic grocery store that promotes sustainability in our region. With more than 3,800 members who share in the ownership of the store, the Co-op makes organic and locally grown produce available to Reno residents for cheaper prices than do big retailers. The store buys its products directly from local farmers and producers, which keeps more dollars in the community and helps the environment by cutting down the amount of harmful, polluting transportation needed to get the items on the shelves. They also practice a non-hierarchical hiring system.

“We’re not profit-driven,” says Mike Burke, an employee and avid supporter of the Co-op. “We [the members] make decisions together and pay smaller, local farmers more.” Local businesses are now being encouraged to buy their products from the Co-op as well. Bistro 7, Pneumatic Diner, Freeman’s Natural Hotdogs, and several other restaurants in the region have been getting products from the GBCFC. Started in a garage in 2005 by Nicole and Amber Sallaberry, the Co-op has moved twice and now resides in a little more than 500-square-feet building at 542 1/2 Plumas Street.