Healthy foods have gained a whole new dimension these past few years, but the reality is that they should always be a priority on your table. We also know that a lot of factors influence decisions whether to or not to buy healthy food, but if you want a long lasting and healthy life you really should reconsider this. Since money is a big issue for almost everyone, we made this article that is supposed to help you reach to some high quality organic, local produce, meat, and dairy that is near you and offers a convenience of a grocery store.
What you need is a food co-op and believe it or not, these actually offer a whole lot for a fraction of the price of your local supermarket. Follow these steps and you will quickly and easily get involved with a food co-op that is just around the corner.
What is a food co-op?
Right now, you are probably wondering what in God’s name is a food co-op? Well, this is basically a grocery store that is owned by members of the cooperative, or simply by the people who shop and work there. This is awesome because it gives a lot of flexibility to these businesses and that flexibility reflects over in products they carry and the sale price of those products. What is even greater is that most of these types of businesses specialize in sales of natural, organic, and locally grown foods that come from farms in the vicinity. This also means that you get dairy, meat, and produce fresh and cheap day after day.
Low prices that food co-ops offer come from members that actually pay to the cooperative to keep it alive. That is awarded by products that are very often sold at some big discounts. But there is more to these places than pure shopping for fresh supplies. You can very often attend cooking classes, gardening lessons, enjoy monthly grocery baskets, and other perks that these give back to their members and community. There is a catch though, but only in some food co-ops, you will have to be a contributing member before you can shop there. Thanks to the way that these businesses thank you for the contribution, you will get that “investment” back very fast through the bargains on the products you get from there.
Where to find one?
If you liked what you read so far, you are probably wondering how to find one? Well, in order to find a food co-op, you will need to use a Coop Directory Service which has a pretty big list of co-ops and buying clubs from US to Canada. If you need more, there is another site called LocalHarvest that has a pretty big directory of food co-ops around US. There is a third option as well, if first two fail, Cooperative Grocer’s directory that might just help you find the right one. The only “problem” with these, so far, is lack of them in all cities, but that is changing. Thanks to the demand for high quality, local food more and more of these is opened in rural areas every year. Some of them specialize for only one type of food (gourmet cheeses, dairy or all-organic produce) but if you keep looking you will definitely find an all-rounder that has everything you need in one place.
As we already mentioned, these co-ops survive on shoppers’ support to the cooperative, and that is by becoming a member of the co-op. This of course means that you will have to set aside a yearly due for them, just be careful to check out the membership fees before you put your initials on anything. If you are not a member, there is no problem for you to enter in one of these and look around to see what they offer, you just can check out with anything if you do not have proof of membership with you. The good thing here is that you can become a member on the spot, if you decide that you like what they offer and the entire concept idea.
This is actually a neat thing to have and to be a part of. The times have changed and there are so little organic, non-processed and not contaminated foods that do not harm your health. What is more important is that, if there is a food co-op where you live, you might actually know, or get to know some of the suppliers to that shop. Another great thing about co-ops is that they let you pay for groceries in volunteer hours. Yes, you read right, you can volunteer for your fresh produce, but moreover you can volunteer in order to learn something new from a butcher or a local farmer for instance. That can sometimes be a great way to get out of the house on a boring weekend and maybe, even pick up a skill or two while doing it. You just have to realize that these food co-ops will never replace your conventional supermarket shopping, but they are a refreshment to the routine and more importantly they will save you some money.