Blooming Prairie Cooperative Warehouse, a natural foods cooperative based in eastern Iowa, will be sold to Connecticut-based United Natural Foods.

Officials of Blooming Prairie Cooperative Warehouse said 73% of the members voted for the sale on Saturday, which needed approval from at least 60% of members. Details of the deal were not released, but officials said the price was more than US$31m.

The Iowa City-based company is a distributor of natural foods throughout the Midwest. Members also approved the establishment of a Blooming Prairie Foundation from proceeds of the sale. The foundation will promote organic farming and cooperatives.

Company officials say the cooperative's 2,344 members will receive 100% of their investment and additional proceeds from the sale. The ten members of the Blooming Prairie board of directors, who recommended the sale, will split US$260,000 with dollar amounts determined by the amount of time each has served.

Nearly all of Blooming Prairie's assets are included in the sale and United Natural Foods is expected to retain all the cooperative's employees.