After two decades of following a vegetarian philosophy, the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op is thinking about supplementing its tofu and alfalfa diet with meat. Since the co-op moved to bigger digs five years ago, its customer base has expanded, leading to more requests for free-range chickens and organic beef. At the same time, management says, competition from Whole Foods has been depressing sales at the main branch in Takoma Park for two years—while the smaller, year-old Silver Spring branch has seen sales go up since it tried selling meat. So last month, the co-op’s 2,700 members began voting on whether to bring butchering to the main branch. Jim Johnson, a former co-op board president, is a vegetarian but says he doesn’t think the traditional meat ban should block the will of the members. “If you want an organization to stand for something,” he says, “don’t make it a democratic organization.”

—David Morton

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