Food buying clubs are a way to get good food, build a sense of community in your neighborhood, support local agriculture and enterprise, and reduce transportation miles and time used to obtain food. The food is often organically raised or involves fewer chemicals than commercially produced food, is fresher because it has relatively few miles to travel, and supports building relationships between neighbors and between eaters and growers.
Neighbors join together to make regular purchases of various food items directly from the grower. There are a variety of types of buying clubs. Here are two:
- Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): Members pay a fixed fee monthly or seasonally for a weekly box of fresh produce grown at a local farm. The box is picked up at the Farmer’s Market or the farm. Using a CSA, neighbors could buy several boxes jointly and share the contents and the pick-up. Click here for a list of local CSAs.
- Farm To Coop (FTC): This concept was newly introduced by Peter Stark of Renaissance Acres Organic Herb Farm, and we’re looking for a neighborhood to pilot it. How it works: Members order and pay on a weekly basis. Produce is delivered to a member’s home for other members to pick up. Other details: costs are comparable to those at Farmer’s Market, it operates approximately 5 months between June and November, deliveries are made within the Ann Arbor area, food is harvested and delivered on same day, and the program may start anytime.
- 4-10 households
- Email access
- 3 cloth bags per member household for transporting produce, labeled with household name
- Contact Peter Stark, co-owner of Renaissance Acres Organic Herb Farm to introduce yourself and find out current details.
- Find 4-10 households who would like to participate.
- Designate one person to be contact person.
- Designate coordinator to take orders: may be the same person all season or rotate weekly.
- Designate delivery home: could be same throughout season or rotate.
- Contact person calls Peter to start program and work out a payment plan.
- Peter will email coordinator with list of available produce. Coordinator emails all members with list.
- Members email orders to coordinator.
- Coordinator emails Peter with orders and address of delivery home 2 days before delivery date.
- Pre-bagged orders for each member household are delivered to designated home.
- Members pick up that day and drop off bag.
- Also see: Selma Foodshare
In real life
Need: An existing model with pics and brief ‘story’ of how it was done/what’s happening with it now. E.g.: Ethan knows about an example of food deliveries to a neighbor. Another: delivery of milk from Tantre’ farm to Ann arbor customers by one person picking it up and distributing it
Share your story
[Use the Comments portion of this message to share the What, why, how, what location, pics portion of your story. Or email them to annarbor350[at]ecocenter[dot]org.