Mission & History
Urban Greens Food Co-op is a consumer-owned and governed cooperative working to open a retail grocery store. The Co-op will be open to all and will support the health and well-being of our customers by offering nutritious, affordable food that is sustainably sourced, culturally inclusive, and supportive of local food.
Urban Greens began as a volunteer-run buying club with the purpose of providing a small group of Providence residents access to healthy foods near wholesale rates. Founded in 2000, the buying club continues to order on a monthly basis using an online system. Members can order bulk foods and personal care products distributed through Associated Buyers of New Hampshire, as well as local food through Farm Fresh RI’s Market Mobile. The buying club continues to be completely volunteer run. Members of the club are encouraged to contribute to the ordering, purchasing, sorting and distributing of orders. Urban Greens Food Co-op member-ownership includes access to the buying club at no additional cost.
The Co-op officially incorporated in March 2007 and has grown from 22 initial member-owners to over 700 founding member-owners. Since 2010, Urban Greens has developed a clear strategy for the development necessary to open a full scale grocery store, and has established strong partnerships with local community groups.
In the summer of 2013, the Co-op reached 500 founding member-owners--a milestone that allowed for the serious pursuit of locations for its future grocery store.
In December, 2015, the board announced the location of the Co-op would be 93 Cranston Street, Providence, RI--former site of the old Louttit Laundry. At an event hosted by the Columbus Theatre, it was announced that a mixed-use development would be built on the empty lot that would include affordable housing and 8000 square feet of retail space.
In January, 2016, the development as a whole received Rebuild RI Tax Credits for approximately $2.7 million.
In June 2016, the Co-op began its Community Investment Campaign looking to raise $600,000 in working capital.
Groundbreaking is set for Fall 2016 and opening day will be 12 months later.