What’s a food co-op? It’s nothing more than a group of people who band together to buy food in bulk. The more people in the co-op, the more buying power. Lower prices. Better access to items.
The Damsel has heard about these arrangements for years but was sad because there didn’t seem to be any co-ops operating near the Cottage by the Mountains. But that’s changed! Happiness!
It’s actually a very old-fashioned idea. Grandma was no stranger to co-ops. People relied on each other for many things in the old days, from helping each other harvest, quilting, construction and child care to out-and-out purchasing co-ops. They were completely common–in the U.S. and Europe as well. The Damsel likes the cozy sound of it all.
So in the modern version, co-op organizers negotiate to buy directly from food brokers who normally only sell to grocery stores. You buy a “share” of the total, and often you volunteer to keep things running–helping divvy the food up, clean up, etc. In return you get a nice bushel or two of fresh food–often produce, but some co-ops extend to meat, bakery items, and more. It’s cheaper and usually better quality.
The Damsel ADORES her local co-op and becomes quite cranky if she can’t participate every week as is her habit. She never knows exactly what will be in the offering, but that’s part of the fun. It’s been great to try produce she normally wouldn’t buy. And hello, the family is EATING VEGETABLES. How is this not good? And she doesn’t mean to sound like there is a whole lot of bizarre stuff. Nearly everything is “normal” food like potatoes, carrots, bananas, apples, lettuce, etc.
Here’s a photo of one of the weekly produce baskets the Damsel acquired. There were apples, bananas, a pineapple, potatoes, blackberries, mushrooms, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, carrots, grape tomatoes, and broccoli. THIS COST $15.
The Damsel can only say, “I know!”
But her purpose is not to make you jealous. It is the Damsel’s wish that you partake. If you live in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, Washington, or Texas, go to Bountiful Baskets and see if there is a location handy enough for you. Another option for Utah folks is The Community Food Co-op of Utah. In other areas, a Google search may lead you to Produce Nirvana.
The Damsel has heard of co-ops where a person actually buys a percentage of a farmer’s crop. (sometimes called CSA’s, or Community Supported Agriculture) With this type, you know what produce you are getting because you know what he plants. You also participate in the risks and uncertainties of farming, right along with the farmer. The Damsel doesn’t know of this sort of co-op in her area, but perhaps one of you dear students does.
The spirit of the co-op is worth preserving.