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We belong to one in Iowa City. We do probably 80% of our shopping there. The thing I like most about it is they do a lot of the legwork for you. They carry mostly local meats and produce, and only buy from vendors that follow certain guidelines. So as horrible as this sounds, it allows us to be a bit lazy. We know all the food there is good food, produced in a way that is as good for the environment as possible. They also don't carry all kinds of produce year round, which helps us eat with the seasons. This is surprisingly fun. It makes it exciting when something you haven't gotten to eat for a while shows up on the stand.
Downsides, as I see them, are overall the prices are higher (due to the high quality of the food, not because they are charging a premium). For us this isn't really a concern as our household consists on of myself and my husband, but if you had a family and a limited budget it could be hard to eat this way all the time. Also sometimes you just want a frozen pizza or something. We have to go somewhere else for that kind of thing.
Of course, as another pointed out, not all co-ops follow the same principles. We get a dividend check every year and we get to vote on big questions like whether it should move to a larger building, but ultimately we are not super involved with the co-op side of things. Ultimately, ours is just a nice place to shop. Many of the cashiers knows us by sight or name. It's comfortable. That's why we go there.