Provident Living Spotlight: Co-opts

October 07, 2010 The Provident Princess 0 Comments

The best and most economical way to be provident in regards to what you eat is to grow a garden. We all know that cooking from scratch is way less expensive, way more nutritious and can I add way yummier?

With a garden you have an almost endless supply of fresh ingredients to cook with and can bottle all the extras for your 3 month- 1 year supply.

Having your own garden isn’t always possible. Unfortunately for me, we are renting right now, so we don’t have much room to garden.

But, I decided that I just had to have home-grown tomatoes, they are so much tastier this way and I LOVE anything with tomatoes. So I decided to get some pots and grow tomatoes and fresh herbs. This is one way I have found to have fresh ingredients, but it is not the only way. I also have joined a co-opt. A co-opt is like a volunteer Costco. It is a bunch of people grouping their buying power together so they can get the bulk discount prices from farmers that grocery stores get. The difference is that there is no store. Just a predetermined drop-off/ pick-up site. I paid a $3 fee to join and then every week I sign up and pay my share for the co-opt on a Monday or Tuesday and it is ready for pickup at a certain time on Saturday. Since it is a volunteer group, they ask that you volunteer once for every 6 times you order.

So I drag myself out of bed at 6:30 on Saturday mornings to go pick up my share of the co-opt offerings.

But isn’t it worth it?

I got corn on the cob, squash, brussels sprouts, white asparagus, nectarines, blueberries, bananas, cantaloupe, romaine lettuce, grapes, oranges and tomatoes. Not bad for 16 bucks huh? To find a co-opt near you click here.

A co-opt isn’t the only way to go. There are also Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)- a farmer. Here are the basics: you can buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer who offers a certain number of “shares” (memberships) to the public. Interested consumers purchase a share and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. To find a CSA Farm near you click here.

You can also find a community garden to grow your own food, buy from farmer’s markets or roadside stands and last but not least you can find local farms near you where you can go pick your own food for a reduced price since you are supplying the labor. These are just a few ideas I have come up with. Please share if you have others.

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