What Lexington Needs… is Healthy, Local Food for All

What Lexington Needs… is Healthy, Local Food for All

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What Lexington Needs… is Healthy, Local Food for All

by Lauren Gawthrop

“Local” is a powerful word that we take seriously at Good Foods Co-op.  It’s at the center of our story and mission. Founded 47 years ago by a group of Lexington college students who wanted to know where their food came from, how it was made and who was making it, the Co-op has been working closely with Kentucky Proud farmers and producers ever since—hundreds of them, to be exact. 

Why is that connection to our local “makers” and food important? We believe that making those connections with your food leads you to better flavor, better nutrition and a deepened sense of community. Just ask anyone who has tried that first vegetable of the season from their own garden. It just tastes better! Even for those of us with black thumbs (guilty), there are farmers all over Central Kentucky doing the hard work for you. You can establish that connection with the land by getting to know them—they’re frequently handing out samples or dropping off the morning’s harvest at the Co-op. 

Making those connections with your food leads you to better flavor, better nutrition and a deepened sense of community. Just ask anyone who has tried that first vegetable of the season from their own garden. It just tastes better!

Haven’t been before? Good Foods Co-op is the only community-owned, cooperative grocery store and café in the state of Kentucky, truly embodying the meaning of sharing a “commonwealth,” and we’re right here in Lexington, on Southland Drive. With more than 8,200 current owners, Good Foods is answerable only to those shoppers, not to board rooms and corporate interests in other states or countries. That allows us to focus our work in ways that benefit our community and our local producers.

That includes rounding up at the register for a different charitable organization each month, offering classes and events at the Co-op and going into the community to teach the basics of nutrition and wellness. We’re proud to be one of the few full-service groceries offering the Kentucky Double Dollars program, which allows those on food assistance programs to double up their haul on locally-grown produce. Did you know we take EBT? In-store programs like Fill It Fresh and Co-op Basics also make shopping for fresh, organic and local food affordable for all budgets.

We are so lucky to live where we do, as Kentucky produces plentiful fruits and vegetables, fresh-from-the-farm eggs and dairy and an assortment of humanely-raised meats, just to name a few. We like to use these exceptional ingredients in our made-from-scratch dishes offered in our grab and go section and also in our café. Of course, all these dishes taste so much better with good company to share them with, so we’d like to invite you out to one of our Community Dinners happening on the last Friday of each month throughout the summer. From 5-9 pm on those final Fridays we’ll be offering everything on our hot bar for just $5 per pound.

We hope you can join us as we continue to build community, offer healthy food and teach more people about what “local” really means!

Lauren Gawthrop is the Marketing Manager at Good Foods Co-op.


Thirty years ago, Ace began including a regular feature from our readers titled, “What Lexington Needs.” A diverse array of local leaders —  from artists and architects, to bankers and business owners, and elected officials of every stripe and party — participated over the decades. 

In honor of our 30th anniversary, we’ve re-opened the forum.

Everyone is invited to contribute.

Essays are typically 500 words or less, and the most important criteria is that the writer be passionate about what they believe Lexington needs.

If you have an idea about What Lexington Needs, please email your comments, a photo, and a one-line bio to [email protected]

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