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In the 1970s, young people in Minnesota radicalized by the Vietnam War created a thriving counterculture economy featuring dozens of food cooperatives. But they had differing ideas about what the co-ops were for: Hippie socializing? Cheap bulk foods? Black liberation? Whole foods education? Anarchist experimentation? Marxist revolution?


In the midst of this burgeoning movement a charismatic stranger formed a secretive revolutionary group that was willing to seize the co-ops by force to bring about their vision of social transformation. The ensuing struggle pitted friends and comrades against each other in a passionate clash of ideas about equity, inclusion, health, and democracy. Long after natural foods have become mainstream, this debate over who and what the co-ops are for finds echoes in the struggle for food justice today.


THE CO-OP WARS captures a pivotal moment in the history of Baby Boomer politics and demonstrates the unique nature of cooperatives as vessels for community-directed social change. It is a documentary sure to be thought-provoking for co-op members and everyone interested in creating a better world.