In the rapidly evolving East Village, the 4th Street Food Co-Op is a lingering memento of the neighborhood’s hippie heyday. Though the nonprofit formed in the mid-Nineties, its roots are in a storefront cooperative that had begun in 1973; to this day, the co-op reflects the values of that time: egalitarianism, environmentalism, and community. The shop has no paid full-time staff, relying instead on working members who exchange their time for discounts on the local and fair-trade goods. The advantages of shopping at a co-op over a traditional supermarket for these products are apparent to store’s avidly loyal members and customers: The selection is wide, the quality is high, and the prices are fair. This tiny health-foods market is keeping alive the fight against the new corporate giants dominating the organic foods game, particularly the Whole Foods a few blocks south. The co-op’s philosophy, and what it represents to the neighborhood and city today, is clear in its mission statement: “we believe in food for people, not for profit.” The demographic may slant toward vegans and NYU freshmen in yoga pants, but don’t be afraid to venture in — the co-op clings to its ideal of welcoming everyone. Jessie Roth
58 East 4th Street, Manhattan
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