By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Feb 20, 2019 at 6:01 PM

Food co-ops were at the helm of the organic food revolution. They've been leaders in local and sustainable sourcing, transparent labeling and bringing healthful food to the fore. And yet, some people still don't understand what a co-op really is, or why they're increasingly relevant in an age when grocery stores are in an ever-evolving state of change.

So we took the plunge and consulted with a cooperative veteran, General Manager Pam Mehnert of Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative, to chat co-ops: what they are, why they're relevant ... and, most importantly, why they're cool.

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Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.