I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions since I don’t usually wait for Jan 1st to start a new goal, but Earth Day is always a big day for me and resolutions. This year, I made a Green Resolution – a goal to change some aspect of my life to better the environment.
My goal? To take one healthy habit I have – eating organic – and maximize it by joining a local organic produce co-op called Green Village Organics. Why? One reason is that co-ops will work to get local produce when possible, which is beneficial to farmers and the community’s economy . My other reason? Well, I have a love affair with Whole Foods, but the love is not felt by my wallet. In fact, it frequently feels slightly abused when I walk out of the store with my reusable bags filled to the brink. So in order to see the fiscal value in eating organic and local, I turned to the local co-op.
This is how it works: You give them $15 and a reusable bag and they take your money, along with the other members’, and purchase the food directly from a wholesaler/farmer. Then they distribute the food among the members based on your input ($15 gets you one bag and $25 gets you two bags) in your reusable bag. You pick it up at the pick-up sites, which may be in a parking lot or someone’s house, on a designated day each week. You get a wide variety of produce (fruit & vegetables) along with some bonus items depending on what’s available (we had some herb bunches this past week).
The only risk is that you can’t control what you get. Since the wholesalers offer whatever is fresh and in stock, that is what you end up with. This can be an added benefit however, since it forces you to try new things and spices up you cooking with some interesting foods. The woman who runs my co-op drop-site sends out emails with what’s in each week’s bag and even offers some recipes for the more numerous or rare items. She also blogs about them at Naples Greenola. I know I’ll be using one of her recipes for Tat Soi since this was a new green to me, in addition to one of the potato recipes as I don’t know what to do with six potatoes!
If you’re interested in joining a local co-op, check out LocalHarvest or GreenPeople for more information. Also, ask around since your best shot at finding a good co-op is word-of-mouth from a friend or coworker. I thank my boss for telling me about Green Village Organics!