Monday, July 6, 2009

Great Cost Saving Idea

Ever thought of joining a Fruit and Vege Co-op?
I haven't done this yet, however I am seriously considering starting one of my own in our local area.

For those who may not have heard of this, a Co-op (Co Operative) is a great way of pooling resources and money and saving time and money in the long run.
It goes a little something like this:

*Get 10 or so families to join/commit.
*Each family pays an amount each week or fortnight (say $20)
*1 Family each week/fortnight has the responsibility of going to their local produce market (not the fruit and veg shop, I mean the BIG markets)
*The "shopper" uses the $200 combined money to make their purchases (eg, bulk bags of carrots, boxes of apples/avocados/mangoes etc
*The "shopper" comes home with the "loot" and divvies it all up between 10 boxes
*Each family gets their box (depending on the co-op, members may collect it, or the shopper may deliver)
*Money is collected for the next run when veggies and fruit are delivered or picked up.

So, in short - by getting together and doing some smart shopping, everyone benefits. The overall cost for the produce is reduced and items are always so very fresh (as the middle man or chain supermarket) is cut out of the equation and profits go directly back to the grower via the market.

A good co-op can run for years with the same members and quite often new ones join as they hear about the benefits.
Some rules must be laid down, as to payment, collection times or delivery etc and most importantly, in a large group, there needs to be understanding that each week will bring differing produce as different shoppers make their purchases. It is a good idea for groups to work out "staples" such as apples, onions, potatoes etc, however the bonus items over and above these can keep you on your toes coming up with new recipes and food for the family. Great for households with kids, or those who are time poor, as you only have to go fruit and veg shopping every 10 weeks! (Albeit that you may need to be up at sparrows fart) to get to the market!)

Take the rest of the family with you and have fun shopping in co-op style!

For anyone interested in setting up their own co-op, here are some major markets around Australia that are a good starting place:

Adelaide Produce Markets

Brisbane Produce Markets
Sydney Produce Markets
Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market

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