I just kind of assumed the co-op was a poor people thing, and like yeah, maybe everyone was allowed to participate, but since it's cheap food it would be like going to a soup kitchen. Sure, everyone would be welcome, but you'd be in line with people wearing rags, and when you got up to the front they would hand you a bruised pear and a can of tuna and tell you thanks for coming.
Plus it was in south Provo, and since I had no car it wasn't too easy to get there.
AND THEN! I volunteered last month, with one of the service groups on campus. I counted lemons at the warehouse, where the groups come to pick up food for people in their areas.
AND THEN! At Earth-Fest on campus, there was a booth for the Co-op and I decided I would try it for May.
I ordered a Standard Share ($23?), a Nutty Guys Sampler Pack ($12?), and a 32 oz. thing of olive oil ($7?). And then I waited, because the Co-op is a once-a-month kind of thing.
They sent me an e-mail confirming my order, and someone called me to remind me to pick it up. Bring bags, they told me. They reminded me of where my pick up location is, which is a block and a half from my house at First Unitarian Church.
I got an e-mail to remind me and to let me know what the fruits and veggies would be (they order a few days before you get them, so you don't know ahead of time).
This month, my Standard Share included:
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 2 lbs. chicken thighs
- 2 lbs. beef chuck roast
- 2 lbs. 'country style' pork spare ribs
- 1 pkg. mushrooms
- 6 bananas
- 1 cantaloupe
- 5 apples
- 1 bunch radishes
- 3 zucchini
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 bag of white potatos
- Stone Ground's Artisan Wheat Loaf
- 16 oz. Rice
And then they had a trade table, so if you didn't want something you could trade it for something that you did want. I had mentioned that I didn't want radishes and the lady behind us said her husband loves radishes! she would trade me! And so I traded my radishes for her wheat loaf, which turned out to be SO. SO. GOOD! And free of artificial ingredients, so J can actually eat it.
At the trade table we traded my mushrooms for another wheat loaf. And then we went to a table where we checked-out, except it's all pre-paid, so I just initialed that I got my stuff. And they thanked me for coming and told me to tell my friends. Tell my friends? Psh! I want to serve a full-time co-op mission. I want to tell strangers!
So the co-op turned out to be the Best Idea Ever. J was amazed by the quality of the produce. He thinks he may participate next month. Like, I don't know why anyone would know about this and choose not to participate. When people move to Utah, there should be someone at the border to say "Welcome to Utah! Here's your co-op order form for next month."
ANYWAY, it's a super good deal. They're way into working with local farmers, so it's like local (often organic) stuff, and it's so cheap. The catch is that the price includes 2hrs of volunteer work. BUT, the volunteer work doesn't even have to be at the co-op! It can be anything you do for someone outside your home for free. (I donate platelets at ARUP 2x/month, so I put that and I have 4 hrs already.) They do want you to volunteer at the co-op at least one time every year, but you can do things like measure rice, or write an article for the co-op newspaper, too.
Interested? For Provo the pick-up location is:
Centro Hispano, 10:30-11:30AM 818 South Freedom Blvd.
The page about how to join, etc is here. Orders are due 12 June. The newsletters are on this page. The June one isn't up yet, but the last one is here.
Other normal people do this too! I searched on Google and found two other blog posts about it...so you can read about their experiences here and here.