The cost of community?


Today, I signed up to become part of a food co-operative. It’s called the Good Food Club. My friend Jennifer Neufeld is doing an internship of sorts with them and she had sent me an e-mail detailing their weekly produce sale.

On arriving at the site, I found out that to take full advantage of the deals being offered by the Good Food Club one had to become a member. So I handed over my application and the $5.00 that went with it and took on the role of a member. As I hadn’t particularly been planning on shopping there this week, all I took home was a bunch of radishes, a bunch of green onions, and a handful of peas(they were being sold by the handful), total cost: $2.50

Now, being a Scotsman who has been unduly influenced by Mennonites, I was curious to discover how this worked out to buying the same items at a local grocery retailer. So, this evening I wandered over to my local Extra Foods store, a place I love dearly, to check out what these items would set me back there.

Green onions – $.58
Radishes – $.57
Peas – $1.28 per package (roughly containing the same amount I had bought)
Total – $2.43

So the grocery store was $.07 cheaper. Including the cost of membership I’m $5.07 down by joining the co-op.

However, that is simply looking at the situation in dollars and cents. There was much other produce there that I didn’t purchase, that whatever it cost was certainly of much better quality than anything that was to be found in Extra Foods. The various lettuces, herbs and even the items that I purchased had a freshness about them that was tangibly superior to the local supermarket food.

Even more important the money raised from this is going back into the local community. This is an immediate result and not one that may happen if the large corporation decides that is looking for a tax write-off.

I intend to keep dealing with this co-op on a regular basis and will be blogging about my experiences doing it.

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