My first love affair…

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The snow was falling at a sharp angle as I darted between buildings, trying to find the elusive Le Frigo Vert I had been hearing incredible stories about. Wedged in between two lifeless  buildings lived a bright green oasis. I had finally discovered the quaint and quirky food cooperative, Le Frigo Vert. As I entered the emporium of wholesale grains and organic vegetables, my heart fluttered and I knew this would be the beginning of a joyous and effervescent communion.

 

Le Frigo Vert was my first experience with a food cooperative and is the origin of my passion for the Say No to Pesticides and Packets movement. During my university exchange in Montreal Canada I was a frequent visitor to Concordia University’s co-op Le Frigo Vert (The Green Fridge). Ran completely by student volunteers, Le Frigo Vert was the place to find discounted quinoa, exceptionally delicious coconut cookies and farm fresh organic greens, as well as a public meeting space to discuss student issues and politics. Being a lover of all things food and cooking, it soon became my haven in a foreign country, it became my ‘happy place.’ The staff were absolutely delightful and would immediately ask if you needed any help in navigating the store and finding what you were after, as well as sharing some of their delicious vegan recipes and cooking tips.

 

The strong sense of community could be felt as soon as you entered the store, and although I did not belong within this community, it made me feel as though I did. This is perhaps the most over looked and under appreciated quality of food co-operatives. You become part of a collective group of people and gain a sense of togetherness and belonging. Now don’t let me get too emotional here, but that was an extremely comforting feeling after relocating to an unfamiliar country and culture. It also helped that I just really love food! And Le Frigo Vert has some of the best produce I have ever tasted, all ethically and sustainably sourced.

So I encourage and urge you to get involved with your local food co-op, become an integral part of your community and make an environmental and political impact through your consumption habits. You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.

To find your closest co-op in NSW click here.

To find out more about Le Frigo Vert check out their website here.

Ballin on a budget?

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If the words ‘tight ass tuesday’ and ‘2 for 1 Friday’ get you excited, chances are you’re a cash stricken student. There is no shame in this! You can still have your organics and eat them too!

In fact, food cooperatives are the cheaper alternative to buying groceries including organic fruits and veg. Because of their cooperative nature, the price of the products are not marked up as a result of excess transport, packaging and wages costs. Cooperatives do not aim to make profit, therefore what you pay is the cost price. Unlike supermarket giants who mark up their products significantly, food cooperatives are able to offer you the best price possible! On average, a box of fruit and vegetables at a food cooperative will be at least 15% cheaper than the equivalent at a commercial supermarket. 

If you thought buying organic fruits and vegetables was expensive, think again! Check out your local food cooperative and I think you will find that the prices are fair less than you’ve been paying at a supermarket. You can also feel great about helping out your local community and the environment too!

 

UNSW STUDENTS: Head down to UNSW’s own food co-operative Thoughtful Foods! Sign up for fresh weekly fruits & vegetables for extremely reasonable prices!

Mixed boxes of fruit and vegetables for $20, $40 or $60.
Boxes of only fruit or vegetables available in $10 or $20 sizes.
WHAT A BARGAIN!
Check out their page here for more details.

Food Co-ops - Cheap & Chic!

Food Co-ops – Cheap & Chic!

No Boss, No Worries!

With over 60,000 members and a 14 billion euro revenue, Mondragon Corporation, founded by José María Arizmendiarrieta, is the world’s largest operating co-op. And guess what, the workers don’t have a boss! Well, there may be an organizational structure in place, however all workers will be rewarded with the same pay and rights. All workers still have a say in any business decisions to be made and the general day to day operation of the business. This is perhaps the biggest perk of a food cooperative business model – equal ownership and opportunity. The workers will usually also be able to purchase the products they sell at a heavily discounted price!

Co-ops operate as a not-for-profit business. So instead of any surplus profit landing straight in the boss’ sagging pocket, it is given back to the business and the members. The workers decide where the profits should go, whether that be in reducing the costs of products for their members or organizational maintenance of the business to ensure it runs at the highest degree of efficiency. Food Co-ops are a shining example of Lincoln’s coined phrase “For the people, by the people.”

No grumpy bosses and discounted groceries? It shouldn’t take much convincing!

Find your local food co-operative and get involved!

This post is inspired by a great NY Times article from March! Check it out here.