May 30, 2023
Local News

Food Shed Co-op begins to scout McHenry County locations for grocery store

WOODSTOCK – McHenry County's community-owned food co-op has begun scouting locations for its brick and mortar store.

Food Shed Co-op wants to bring a community-owned grocery store – which would sell mostly local, organic foods – to McHenry County and has begun scouting locations for its store after recently passing its ownership goal.

The organization now wants to push for more owners and recruit more farmers to source food for the store once it opens. The timeline for an opening date still is fluid, said Richard Passavant, vice president of the Food Shed Co-op board.

“We’ve seen sites that would require ground-up work and places that could be turnkey sites,” he said. “That all goes into the business plan. We want to open sooner than later, and we are making some headway.”

The grocery store would be open to everyone, but owners would have a say in what products are sold and also could receive benefits and discounts.

The focus of the co-op is to make organic, sustainable, local food available in a commercial store. Food Shed plans to have a deli, hot food section, pre-made meals, produce and other grocery items, Passavant said.

The store likely will open in either Woodstock or Crystal Lake. Food Shed completed a feasibility study that indicated the store likely would be most successful in Crystal Lake between Route 31 and Route 14, or in Woodstock from Route 14 to Route 47, according to the co-op's website.

Founding owners must buy two shares of common stock for $200. Payment plans are available, according to the co-op. Right now, the group has about 570 members, and officials are hopeful that those members can bring in some friends, Passavant said.

“We really want to double ownership as we approach announcing a new location,” he said. “We want to launch a one-plus-one campaign and grown organically and exponentially.”

Laura Ehrman of Crystal Lake has been an owner with the co-op for about two years, and she said she thinks it’s important to support local food producers as well as feed her family healthfully.

“We have young children, so we’re concerned about food additives and saw this as a great resource for families all over the county,” she said. “I see [ownership] as a way to put a stake in the ground and say, ‘This is what we want for our community and the future of our community.’ ”

Food Shed holds regular community events where residents can find out information about the community. The co-op will be at Saturday’s winter Woodstock Farmer’s Market, and it will host a Coffee and Conversation session at 9 a.m. Feb. 25 at Conscious Cup in Crystal Lake.

For information and upcoming events, visit Food Shed Co-op's website at