The Macomb Food Co-op plans to soon offer locally produced meats, eggs, and produce through an on-line market.
“We will be offering this service in September, hopefully. It takes six to eight weeks to get the whole system up and running,” said Jean Davenport, Macomb Food Co-op Outreach Coordinator and Americorps VISTA Volunteer through the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs.
In a newsletter, the co-op said the plan is to make the on-line market available to all co-op owners. Non-owners will be able to try the system for one month free of charge. After that, they will need to buy at least one share in the co-op to continue ordering.
Another co-op will offer space for the on-line market distribution center. The McDonough Telephone Cooperative will allow the Macomb Food Co-op to use its building at McArthur and Washington in Macomb.
There will probably be a few hours set aside one day per week for shoppers to pick up their items.
Davenport said the food co-op now has 280 owners. It needs 400 before it can begin the process of opening a store. The on-line market is seen as a way of promoting local foods while waiting to hit that mark.
Davenport said the idea for the on-line service came from the Purple Porch Cooperative in South Bend,IN.
“They have been doing this for four years as a bridge to getting their actual physical store,” Davenport said.
“After doing some research, we decided that would be a good thing for us too.”
It appears to be coming at a good time. A recent survey of more than 20,000 shoppers in four states, including Illinois, found 13% bought at least one grocery item on-line in the past month.
They bought all product lines, including dairy and fruits and vegetables. Their most common shopping site was Amazon.
The survey was done by Illinois-based Brick Meets Click.