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Monday, March 29, 2010

Food Co-ops: A great way to save money and eat healthy.

For the past year and a half or so I have been participating in a variety of food co-ops in my area. I started out by being part of a neighborhood co-op where we had one lady order and sort produce for 12 families every other week. It worked out pretty good. If I didn't have the opportunity to participate in different co-ops I would definitely get this going again!

I then joined The Community Food Co-op of Utah. They have monthly pick-ups in convenient locations around Utah. They provide food from local sources. Backed by an army of volunteers they offer out-reach programs and delivery to the homebound.

Another co-op that I have been part of is Bountiful Baskets. They offer weekly pick-up locations in several western states. Bountiful Baskets offers conventional as well as organic options as well as bread.

There are a couple of relatively new co-op options. Utah has Field to Families and also Green Bee Produce in Arizona and Utah.

These are some of the local co-ops that I am aware of in my area. Each offers it's own benefits and disadvantages.

I also recently learned of Angel Food Ministries. This program bring affordable fresh and frozen food items to people in 44 states (not available in Utah).

There seem to be new co-op's popping up all over the place. A simple search online and checking around with neighbors you can easily find a food co-op in your own area. All of these co-op run with some sort of volunteer force. If you join a co-op please consider volunteering from time to time.

The main reason my family participates in co-ops is that we are able to try new things, expand our menu, eat healthy for a fraction of the cost, and help by volunteering to improve the quality of life for our community.


Lillian said...

I joined the community food co-op of Utah. I was disappointed I'm afraid. The quality of the fruit was rather poor. So unripe that even the 'paperbag for a few days' trick couldn't salvage them. The only thing that saved it for me was all the freebie wheat thins I scored. That was actually worth more than I spent, but I had expected to be happy with the actual basket. My main point is not to complain, but to see if other people feel the same way? Is it usually better? Maybe better in the summer? As far as the produce went I didn't think it was a savings over market prices.

Heidi said...

I did Bountiful Baskets for the first time a few weeks ago and wasn't that impressed, either. Things went bad way too fast! My tomatoes was totally green and didn't ripen either. I think I'll try again in the summer and see if it's better. I think it's a great idea and hope it gets better!

Sherri said...

I personally get produce through Bountiful Baskets and meat through Crossroads.

The quantity and quality of the crossroads produce is much better in the summer.

Heidi -- I know exactly which Bountiful Baskets week you are talking about. There were a lot of unhappy people that week. In the year or so that I have been doing Bountiful Baskets there have been only about 3 weeks that I was disappointed.


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