By Susan McBrine
When considering joining a Food Cooperative (Coop), the obvious reasons come to mind: fresh, direct-from-the-farm produce that is bursting with the season’s goodness. But there are other “hidden” advantages to joining. The following are just a few reasons you may not have considered!
1. The Food Coop Workout
Anyone who has ever volunteered to work a Coop will tell you to show up with sleeves rolled and your good shoes at home. You will spend your time lifting, stretching, pulling, dragging and lugging crates, sacks, and boxes in all sorts of weather conditions. Erecting and collapsing those tents beats any 20-minute workout! You emerge, sore but victorious, knowing that you’ve “done your bit”.
2. Sharpening Your Math Skills
Quick! How many ounces in “two pounds, four ounces of carefully weighed heirloom tomatoes”? How many tomatoes make two pounds? How do I balance this scale? How many people are waiting behind me while I try to do the math?
3. Honing “Stealth Skills”
A benefit mostly for parents of picky eaters, but also for those with picky partners: your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find as many ways as possible to use your week’s worth of veggies masqueraded as secret, undetectable ingredients. Zuke in the chocolate cake? Carrots in the marinara sauce? Our little secret!
4. Satisfying Your Inner Traveler
Grab your prettiest French market basket. Let the carrot tops drape artistically over the sides. Add in the perfect head of romaine. Fill your basket with color. Close your eyes, breath in, and imagine yourself in a French open-air market. C’est magnifique! Note: best not done too close to the dog park.
5. Improve Your Research Skills
What’s a scape? How do I cook with it? Where do I store it? How’s it supposed to taste? How do I pawn it off on the kids? WHO HAS A RECIPE?????
6. Play “Supermarket Stand-Off”
This game is a favorite of Food Coop veterans. How long can you go, using all your delicious, fresh Coop produce and whatever is on hand in your pantry and refrigerator, before you have to drag yourself to the supermarket for a full shop? Can you last a week? Two weeks? More? Bonus points for getting all the way down to the lightbulb and the baking soda before there’s a mutiny with threats to order take-out. Note: picking up a quick gallon of milk doesn’t count!
Now you have all the reasons you need to join a coop! You’re on your way to an adventure in delicious, fresh food and a whole new experience in the way you feed yourself and your family. Grab your bags and go for it!