Thursday, July 2, 2009

I am a member of the Salt Lake City food co-op highlighted in the article below and I have been preaching about the benefits of the co-op for nearly a year and my sermon has fallen on mostly deaf ears. Consider me the Jehovah’s Witness (or if you’re a JW, consider me a Mormon missionary) who just won’t go away. I, too have a wonderful story to tell and I don’t require tithing.

Everyone thinks there's a catch to this or that the food is garbage or leftover from somewhere; but those who think that are dead wrong. There are over 100,000 members in the co-op now and that means local, volume buying power (which equals discounts = cheaper prices for us all). During the summer and fall, you can even order the Farmer's Market Share which is 100% organic.

Look at it this way: Many of us shop at Smith's (or Albertson’s, Harmon’s, Ream’s), right? Well, they buy their products from wholesalers or direct marketers at wholesale prices. They then turn around and sell you and me the same product at a higher cost in order to make money. All the co-op does is to eliminate the middle man and allows you and I to buy at the wholesale rate. Plus, it allows the Utah food pantries to join in and make those dollars go farther to help our fellow Utahns in need. No good deed goes unpunished.

There is a non-compulsory lifetime membership fee of $5 but if you don't wish to pay it, so be it. You can still participate and buy your groceries at cost.

Everyone asks about the catch; as I can see it there are three:

1. You can only order and pick up your food once a month, so the fresh produce in your order will probably have to be supplemented sometime before the next delivery. Also, you have to be diligent about using your produce without wasting it; else you're not getting as good of a deal.

2. Team Sites and Times- You cannot just go down to the store when you feel like it and pick up your food. You have to go to your team site (which you choose from the website; and there are hundreds located throughout the three valleys) and you have to go at the designated time for your site (they are all on the last Saturday of each month). I cannot tell you how many Saturdays the cute little black ladies at the Calvary Baptist Church have had to look at me puttering up to their church on my pink scooter; in my PJ’s with my hair wildly askew, armed with my reusable shopping bags (you provide your own bags- green is good!). Those poor church ladies must think that Satan drives a Metropolitan, as wild-eyed and incoherent as I am (I am NOT a morning person). If you do not get to your site within the specified time frame, your food will be donated to the Utah Food Bank and you do not get a refund.

3. Community Service- The co-op asks you to donate two hours every month to community service (sort of a pay it forward) and you sign your paper saying that you have done so. Every six months, two of those hours must be with the co-op itself: my favorite chore is the bagging party the Thursday before pick up. You sit at a table and bag rice or beans with a few other people. Everyone talks and laughs and I’ve met some great new friends that way; one of whom got me free insulation installed in my attic (Hi Jerri!).

Katrina likes working in the warehouse because it’s nice and cold and she gets to boss everyone around. Plus, she comes home with extras like eleven, 3-pound cantaloupes and a flat of tomatoes. How on earth can two people eat thirty-three pounds of cantaloupe before it rots? Thirty three pounds of melon does interesting things to the gastrointestinal order of ones body…

It’s all on the honor system. In the summer, I use the fact that I mow my neighbor’s lawns as my community service all summer. The trade off is that my neighbor shovels my snow all winter so he could use that as his service in the winter months. I, on the other hand have to walk old ladies across the blizzard-wracked streets all winter.

If you do work through your church or other organization, or care for an elderly of otherwise-abled family member, that counts as well.

Bottom line: A fool and his money are soon parted… Only a fool wouldn’t want to save tremendous amounts of money on something they cannot live without; especially in this economic downturn.

Make your money work for you and stretch your dollar as far as you possibly can. Even if money isn’t tight for you, why wouldn’t you put the dollars saved towards your next vacation or dinner out? Or donate the difference to charity? Whatever turns your crank.

See the link below for additional information, including the link to their website.

Take care and happy 4th of July!

Nutritious Food Healthy Lunch

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