Editor’s note: Moon Co-op’s Jim Rubenstein writes a weekly column for the Oxford Press section of the Journal-News. This week he has written it about the store, as it is one of our Best of Butler County 2023 winners. See a photo gallery of the store online at journal-news.com and a complete list of the winners in 131 categories at journal-news.com/best-of-butler-county.
Thanks to the many Journal-News and Oxford Press readers who voted MOON Co-op Grocery and Butler County’s Best Health Food Store. Also thanks for awarding MOON Co-op second in Best Natural Food Store and a finalist in Best Grocery Store.
MOON’s designation as “best health food” might refer to the health of us as individuals, the health of our community, and the health of our planet.
For the health of us individuals, we all know that eating nutritious food is essential. Finding nutritious food in restaurants and supermarkets can be challenging. The articles of incorporation of MOON Cooperative Services, Inc. state as a purpose “to promote the use and consumption of natural, organic, and environmentally friendly products.”
The health of our community is also a core mission of MOON Co-op. The By-Laws cite as a principal purpose “utilizing local and regional producers to strengthen the local economy.”
In and around Oxford are many dedicated farmers and artisans, for whom the co-op offers a viable local retail outlet. Local products encompass more than seasonal produce. Dairy products come from small Ohio farms, as do meats like beef, lamb, and chicken.
“Local” extends to bottled products, such as kombucha, BBQ sauce, and tomato sauce. Even some nonfood items like soap are locally made.
MOON Co-op has been an incubator for some local artisans. For example, MOON was the first retail outlet for Hamilton’s now-thriving Chubby Bunny gluten-free Bakery and Chickpea Chicks hummus.
The health of Planet Earth has become increasingly important over the past decade. The co-op’s By-laws state “as a food cooperative, we hope to enable our community members to make locally sustainable choices in recognition of our larger global responsibilities.”
Not everything can be sourced locally, of course. Other cooperatives supply MOON Co-op with staples such as herbs and spices, wines, coffee, tea and chocolate.
Two decades ago, a number of Oxford folks began an effort to get a full-service cooperatively-owned grocery featuring sustainable, Earth-friendly, and above all locally grown, raised, and produced groceries. The name MOON is an acronym for Miami Oxford Organic Network.
MOON Co-op is now owned by 994 member-owners who live in or near Oxford (excluding 28 others who sadly have passed away since the cooperative’s incorporation). Anyone can become a member-owner by paying a one-time fee of $150 (which legally is a common share in the cooperative).
The year-round Oxford area population (excluding Miami students) comprises less than 5% of Butler County’s total. So MOON’s strong showing in Best of Butler County reflects the attraction of the store’s unique mission and offerings across the county, not just in Oxford. Thanks again to folks in Oxford and across Butler County for recognizing the value of MOON Co-op.
Finally, a special thanks to the dedicated staff working at the co-op. The store’s ethos may be rooted in twenty-first century sustainable lifestyle, but thanks to the staff MOON’s vibe is rooted in a bygone era of “Mom-and-Pop” stores.
MOON Co-op Grocery is Oxford’s consumer-owned full-service grocery featuring natural, local, organic, sustainable, and Earth-friendly products. MOON Co-op, located at 516 S. Locust St. in Oxford, is open to the public every day. See it online at www.mooncoop.coop.