Local food co-op to celebrate 40th birthday with local Austin vendors

Audrey Zhang

Wheatsville Co-op, a student favorite and the only retail food cooperative in Texas, is celebrating its 40th birthday next Wednesday with cake, ice cream and local Austin vendors.

Wheatsville has been serving the Austin community since 1976, specializing in local, organic and sustainable food. As a food cooperative, Wheatsville is owned and operated by local Austin citizens who pay a small amount to become owners. The members also vote and make decisions regarding the Co-op’s food and products.

Wheatsville Board President Doug Addison said the Co-op will continue working to ensure prices and quality that benefits the Austin community.

“We on the board have borne witness to how Austin’s rising cost of living and food access challenges affect some of our neighbors,” Addison said in a statement. “The Board seeks to focus on the cooperative values such as equity, solidarity and compassion that frame our work in guiding Wheatsville as a force for good.”

The celebration will be on March 16 at their Guadalupe and South Lamar locations from 12-6 p.m. It will include complimentary cake and deals on signature products, such as Wheatsville vegan donuts and popcorn tofu.

Many local vendors and partners of Wheatsville will be there, including Lick Honest Ice Cream, Kosmic Kombucha and Third Coast Coffee.

Wheatsville’s Brand Manager Raquel Dadomo said the Co-op has grown significantly in the past 40 years.

“We started out when a lot of retail grocery co-ops where popping up across the country,” Dadomo said. “It was a way for people to find high-quality natural food at a time when shelf-stable processed foods were surging. Through good business, our commitment to our neighbors and community has grown stronger and we’ve helped many local brands and growers.”

Dadomo said shopping at food co-ops like Wheatsville is more socially responsible than shopping at larger retailers.

“We’re the only retail grocery co-op in Texas — so that alone is something to be very proud of,” Dadomo said. “When people support our co-op, they support local growers, vendors, and livable wages and benefits for every staff member.”

Marketing sophomore Emily Fu said she shops at Wheatsville because of its unique features.

“Wheatsville is a smaller local grocery store that carries locally made goods, and caters to vegetarians, vegans and healthy eaters,” Fu said. “It just seems more varied, unique and interesting to me in terms of their products, and I like that it is just as much a place to eat out as it is a grocery store.”