Re: food co-ops
We joined a local food co-op. They have a variety of things, like a smaller version of a grocery store. They sold HBA, produce, a little meat, dairy, frozen, spices. It was $2/month for your coop fee and then everything was marked with the coop's cost and you paid a mark-up based on your 'work'. DH was doing work for the coop and we got a 12% markup versus the standard 30% markup.
It wasn't great for us. We have our own personal Frontier (wholesale.frontiercoop.com) membership, so we didn't want to pay the markup on any of those items. We did put in a set order for local butter and milk that we picked up every week. Before we joined the coop we paid $5/gallon at Whole Foods. The coop's price was $4 + your mark up, so we saved a few cents there, but it was more convenient for us than WF. I actually found that a lot of the items I could get for the same price at WF by buying the WF 365 version rather than the brand name. All in all we decided not to rejoin for this year. If we lived in an area without good Organic/natural/local options we would have stuck with it though.