Baltimore Food Co-op

2800 Sisson St., (410) 889-6842,

We know you need the 411 on this new hippie way of shopping for food, but the Baltimore Food Co-op is really simple and yet in flux, so a part of this award goes to the balls it takes to get a real, true, democratic, member-owned and -run co-op seedling planted and the other part goes to hoping it grows. Nonmembers are welcome to shop, but for a one-time membership fee of $100, you and your household can shop at a 2 percent discount and take advantage of member specials. Members will also need to pay a nominal fee every year in order to stay active—and so they can also vote at the annual meeting and do other decision-making things. The store itself carries many of the same brands as Whole Foods, in addition to local produce, dairy, and meat. Prolly most exciting and economical: Co-op members are building a temperature-controlled bulk-food room. Hopefully, a peanut butter grinder and buckets of fresh tofu are next.

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