This paper examines cooperation and community development in the food sector. It explores how conventional consumer cooperatives located in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada support local producers as well as the role of their second-tier cooperative in hindering and facilitating this work. Fifteen interviews were conducted with managers and directors representing ten stores. Findings show that while there is interest on the part of these cooperatives in carrying local foods,
they experience store and supply-level barriers in doing so. Additionally, some federation practices constrain the ability of the retails to carry Cape Breton products. Both stores and the federation, however, share a common understanding of the role they play in community development and alternative food systems.