$7.99 for a head of cauliflower?
$3 for a single ear of corn???
I had decided shopping at my local major supermarket chain was like having a second mortgage , so I was going to give them full access to my bank account. Or better still, get my boss to pay them directly instead of me! Then I saw a call out for a local fruit and veg co op and decided to give it a go.
A few months on and I love it!!! Absolutely couldn’t live without it. There’s 12 families, we put in $20 each and that covers our fruit and veg for the week. Sometimes I might pop to the local green grocer if my toddler is obsessed with something specific eg cucumbers, otherwise, for my family of 4 (two little kids), this literally covers our entire week’s worth of fresh food. Some weeks we don’t get through the whole box, and I share the over flow with my neighbours, or it keeps as the produce is all incredibly fresh. I look forward to our box every week and my toddler loves helping me unpack it, as he takes a bite out of every apple and tomato he can get his little hands on.
As well as significantly reducing the amount we now spend on food every week, there have been other great benefits. These are mainly the friendships I’ve made with other local mums, some of which have become very dear to me. I love our group, the sense of community, the friends I’ve made, the early morning trips to Flemington Markets every 6 weeks, meeting the famers and chatting to them about their produce. Plus I’m not supporting the major supermarkets, who are known for their ruthless treatment of farmers.
Since last week, another benefit of our co op is that we have agreed to support the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown by all chipping in a little extra and giving them a box every week. Most asylum seeker families are in desperate need of fresh fruit and veg, and it’s a luxury they can’t always afford. The Centre was really appreciative when we contacted them about doing this, and to know we can support them so simply and effectively is heartwarming.
It’s great to know that 12 local mums are making a significant difference in our own families, and now in other people’s lives as well. If there’s a co op in your area, make sure you join it. And if not, start one up. Have I mentioned how much I love our co op?!?”
How it works – in a nutshell
- Each family commits to paying $20 a week in return for a box of approximately 50% fruit/ 50% veg. We have a few things we get every week – salad leaves in the summer, onions, potatoes and garlic
- A roster is drawn up for members to shop in pairs. (We have 12 people – this is enough to only have to shop once every 6 weeks and two trolleys worth of shopping (also, a medium sized SUV is enough!)
- The shoppers divide up the shopping into boxes and members pick up produce in an hour’s window from the house of one of the shoppers
- Members pay for the box when they collect (we trialled payment in advance too)
- Most of our communication is done in a secret Facebook group – including setting up an event for each week’s shop, notification of boxes being ready for collection and sharing recipes and ideas!