Alternative Economics/ Amaranth
VIPIRG’s Alternative Economics committee initially focused on public education about alternatives to capitalist economics. Out of interest in gaining hands-on experience, committee members organized Amaranth, a food-buying group and store promoting organic foods.
When Amaranth first began in 1995, there were virtually no local outlets for affordable organic dry goods. The food-buying group quickly grew into a storefront that included a library, free servings of tasty vegan food, and information about organics as an alternative to pesticide-laden, genetically-modified foods sold in corporate grocery stores.
Amaranth was an early part of what was becoming a mass movement of food consciousness. After seven years, Amaranth could not compete with lower prices and increased availability of organic goods that came with increased public demand for organic options at locally-owned grocery stores such as Thrifty Foods. In 2002, Amaranth closed, and the food enthusiasts who had been involved shifted their work to local organic growing options as part of the Urban Agriculture working group.