The Future of Grocery: How Co-ops can Adapt and Compete

Friday, June 9, 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. | Magnolia and Camellia Ballrooms

Errol Schweizer, Host of The Checkout and Grocery Nerd

The world of grocery is ever-changing and the last several years have given the industry whiplash with a completely new set of challenges. Some are shaped by macroeconomic factors like sector consolidation, supply chain issues, and profit-driven inflation, while others stem from evolving customer preferences and significant shocks to the labor market. In this session, Errol Schweizer will share his perspective on how food cooperatives are positioned to compete is this volatile market.


Errol Schweizer standing in grocery aisle.Errol Schweizwer

Host of the The Checkout and Grocery Nerd

Born in The Bronx, NYC, Errol Schweizer is a 25+ year veteran of the food system, with experience in retail, food service, cooperatives, farmers markets, urban agriculture, community organizing and food policy. He has a B.Sc. in Biology and has worked nearly every retail and service sector job, from grill cook and dishwasher, to stock clerk and purchasing manager. As the former V.P. of Grocery for Whole Foods, he spent over a decade bringing more than 6,000 products to market while developing new categories and supply chains.

Errol has had a huge impact on Non-GMO and Organic product availability, fair labor standards, Halal and Kosher certification, plant-based foods, and grass-fed and humanely-raised meat, eggs and dairy.

Errol co-founded Drop the Rock, the campaign to overturn mandatory minimum sentencing in New York State, and was instrumental in legalizing hemp and cannabis in many states in the U.S.

Errol was awarded Supermarket News Retail Game-changer of the Year in 2015 and was recognized by the Hemp Industry Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. He is also a longtime organizer, researcher and published author on environmental justice issues. Errol is currently a Board Member, Advisor and Co-Founder for over a dozen companies in the natural products and cannabis sectors and is active in regional food policy, food access and social justice organizing. Errol is a member of the National Writers Union and Freelance Solidarity Project and is committed to diversity and equity in the food system. Errol supports the rights of all workers to organize and join a union.

Restorative Revolution: Transforming the Food System in California

Saturday, June 10, 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. | Magnolia and Camellia Ballrooms

This session will feature visionaries who are working to build a more equitable, just, and sustainable food and agriculture system in California. They will share their stories of transforming food systems in the face of daunting structural and societal obstacles.


  • David Benson, Produce Manager, BriarPatch Food Co-op
  • Adrionna Fike, former member from Mandela Grocery Cooperative
  • Chanowk Yisrael, Founder, Yisrael Farms
  • Javier Zamora, Owner, JSM Organics
  • Moderator: Doug O’Brien, President & CEO, National Cooperative Business Association