It Takes a Village
This time of year is a lovely time of year for food. It’s farmers’ market season, at least in the areas where farmers’ markets are not year round. For foodies, this is their season to get their groove on, cooking local delicacies that tempt and tantalize the taste buds. For others it’s the opportunity to support local industry and farming. These growers provide us a confidence in their food that is not normally provided when shopping at our regular supermarkets. It’s a win win for all.
As a Health Coach, I love farmers’ markets. I love the comraderie of the farmers selling their wares and I love to see people out and about with their re-useable bags discussing the merits of spinach and the recent crop of strawberries. However, not every community has a farmers’ market. In fact, not every community has a super market. Some people I’ve worked with live in small towns with no health food store, no farmers’ market, no Whole Foods, nothing. What to do then? How do you find good healthy food when there is none around?
One option is to grow it yourself. And then you find friends who have the same values in food. And then you create a food Co-op. By working with your community and local farmers you open the door to a world previously unseen. That’s kind of what happened where I live. A group of like minded people got together and decided to provide a way for everyone to have access to good food. The called themselves The Sugar Beet Cooperative. Here is their mission
The Sugar Beet Cooperative will provide high quality, locally sourced food produced in ecologically sounds ways. Not only will we offer good food at fair value to member-owners and the community, The Sugar Beet Co-op will also serve as a neighborhood gathering place for sharing and learning, which in turn will support our regional food shed.
The vision of The Sugar Beet Co-op is to nurture our diverse community through the practice of cooperative economics and through educational programming honoring a more sustainable relationship between the foods we eat and the world we live in.
Pretty great right? Now I’m not saying that you should all run out and form a food Co-op. It takes a lot of work and organization. But for those of us in small towns, or those of us who are dismayed by their options (or lack there of) in the super market, a food Co-op is a great place to begin your journey to health. The food is seasonal, the meat is fresh. You meet the growers, the farmers, the people behind the food. There’s a ripple effect in this as well. By supporting a food Co-op you are supporting your local economy, improving your health and the health of others who shop there. Additionally food Co-ops educate people to a world beyond what they see on supermarket shelves. Which leads to more options. More options means more joy. More joy promotes generally just being good people. And the world always needs more good people.
Learn more about The Sugar Beet Food Coop on their website . (Full disclosure, the creators of the Sugar Beet are my friends. I have asked their permission to write about them on this blog). You can also look for food coops in your neighborhood through the wonders of Google.
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About the Author: Courtney Abrams is a Health Coach and Founder of Roslyn Wellness. Trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she helps clients work within the realities of their day to day lives to find ways to make small and manageable changes to their health that can maintained over time. Her clients include people trying to lose weight, beat sugar, increase their energy, cook simple healthful food and reduce stress to name a few. She also shares a passion for food policy and educating people about the foods they are eating and the governmental role behind much of it. You can learn more about Courtney and Roslyn Wellness at http://RoslynWellness.com.