Deep Roots Market: Making a Deep Impact on Our Community
by Kristen Margo Daukas
What started as a small vegetarian buying club in the ’60s by a group of friends in a Guilford College dormitory, Deep Roots Market has since become a brick and mortar business with an incredibly loyal customer base – customers – many of whom are also owners.
Many of the first co-op food markets actually began during the Depression-era when food was scarce and communities needed to lean on their neighbors for both food and monetary support. In fact, towns that had co-ops had far less hunger and poverty during the Depression than towns who did not. Fast forward to the 70s and there was another resurgence of co-ops when the oil spills that impacted our country had people questioning whether the Government was concerned about the impact it had on our environment and food supplies. Currently, the popularity and interest in co-ops is largely driven by the fact that we, as consumers, are much more cognizant of the food going into our bodies with many people opting for plant-based diets and a desire for organic foods, as well as, sustainability, local foods, and community strength.
Deep Roots Market offers shares for the community to buy and become ‘owners’ of the business. One share costs an individual $100 and the system is set up so that you can own up to ten shares and includes one vote in decision-making votes about policy and a vote for owner representation in the form of a volunteer Board of Directors. Not wanting to leave anyone out of this opportunity, they also have two options for people who may not be able to afford the $100 option. These individuals can either split the $100 into four $25 payments over the year, or you can take advantage of their LIME program where you pay $15 a year until you reach the $100 fee. The LIME program also includes a significant discount on groceries to anyone who qualifies for that program. All of these options are a great way to ensure that anyone who wants to be involved can be involved! Deep Roots Market is making sure that all barriers possible are being removed in order for residents of our area to eat healthily.
That commitment to providing healthy options extends beyond the Triad. Deep Roots works with other co-ops across the nation to get lower-priced, organic and natural products for their customers because the competition is fierce with larger retail market stores. When the price of produce and other items becomes so low, the burden of price is placed on the farmers who are growing these items, often putting them in a financially vulnerable position to support their farms and their families. So not only are co-ops like Deep Roots helping provide healthy food to their customers, but they’re also helping better the lives of those providing the food by keeping the focus on fair trade and fair prices.
In addition to the full-service grocery store, Deep Roots also offers a walk-up hot and cold bar of freshly made food items, as well as catering platters, dishes and boxed lunches (you can see their full catering menu online, as well as, make special requests). Instead of a morning meeting that features carb-heavy options like croissants and muffins, how about a yogurt parfait bar instead? There is also a community room which can be used for your meeting needs free of charge and can be reserved in advance. They host movie nights on the first Sunday of every month and wellness events in the store on the 4th Wednesday of every month (2nd Wednesday during November and December) which cover a wide variety of topics to help the community live their best, healthiest life possible!
If you’ve committed to living a clean and healthier life and haven’t made your way downtown to their location at 600 N. Eugene, there is no better time than now to see all that Deep Roots Market is about and the many ways they help you be healthy and involved in the community!