Did you know that in 1975-76 in Minneapolis / St. Paul, there occurred a series of violent confrontations called the Co-op Wars?
These ‘wars’ involved a secretive organizations known as ‘the O’ or the ‘O cult’ which tried to take over the local food co-op community through revolutionary action.
A film currently in production, slated to come out this year, recounts the history and the leftover intrigue. And while the very notion of a militant food co-op might sound humorous—nay, ridiculous—it appears the passions leading to these dramatic events had some real roots. Who knew co-ops could be so exciting?
Radical Roots: The Story of a Food Revolution
It’s a tale of hippies and draft resisters, Black Panthers and organic farmers, and a takeover attempt by a secretive Marxist organization, setting in motion a debate over race, class, health and democracy. Radical Roots connects this history with the food activist of today, who are again trying to create a food system that is healthy, ecological and just for all.
Today, Minneapolis/St. Paul boasts the strongest local food scene in the US, bolstered by the country’s largest co-op network. But how was this network created? Radical Roots tells the story of the inexperienced young people who tried to build an alternative to the capitalist order, the violent struggle that almost tore them apart, and their eventual success in ways they never foresaw.