Forming a Food Community

It's all well and good to talk about eating good foods, right? We also need to do something about it. We need to actually start eating those good foods.



One thing we must know about God the Father is that He makes life easier. What does Jesus say? "My yoke is easy, and my burden light." This does not mean life is more complicated under his direction. And I know that at times we can feel this is not true. But His way is easier, and it must be in order for us to actually do it. The biggest difference is reordering our lives, though. We must make room for His easy yoke, and leave out the things that make our lives more difficult.

I've got some ideas on how to form a food community, some I am trying out, and some I am still planning and working out the kinks. Like I said, and you need to remember this as well, if it's going to work in a godly way, it must make life easier for everyone.


1. A Buying Co-op

This one I've been planning for years, but when I finally just did it, it was simple and beautiful. There is a flour mill about an hour and half away from our house. They mill organic flours and sell in bulk quantities. The price per pound is more than the cheap flours, but less than the organic flours at the grocery store. The flour is amazing. So much fresher and lighter than flour at the grocery store. It decreases my sourdough rise time by about 3 hours. Anyway, I digress.

I could just go up every other month to get my own flour, but it's quite a trip and of course it raises the price of the flour to use up gas and whatnot. Instead, I sent out an announcement on Facebook. I asked if any of my friends would be interested in forming a buying co-op. Five were, and so we organized ourselves. We'll be making the trip every other month (so that's one trip per year for each of us), we'll place our orders all together and pay the cost of the flour each. We won't have to worry about the cost of gas because we'll each be making the trip at some point. Jeremy and I made the first trip in August, and we had a lovely time; it was almost like a date! He kept asking when we would get to go again. I said, not 'til next year.

Now, a mill might not be near you, but maybe a dairy is, or a farm is. Or there's other things you can do together. Buying 5 gallons of coconut oil makes for the best price per pound, but it's a lot of money up front. You could get some friends to split the cost of the 5 gallons and then split the five gallons. Buy bulk vegetables together. Get an Azure Standard community organized (or find one nearby) so that they'll deliver to you. (That place is awesome. Especially if you can buy the bulk items.)

This idea could also apply to meat buying. Just like flour, I can't afford the organic prices unless I buy in bulk. But I also can't afford to buy in bulk as often as I need.

2. Vegetable Trading

Maybe you can grow the snot out of squash, but your tomatoes refuse to give you one good red tomato. (Or maybe that's just me.) In the spring, talk to your friends, ask if anyone would be interested in trading fruits and vegetables with you. Make it pound for pound, or even easier one fruit for one fruit. I could plant several more squash plants if I'd quit trying to grow tomatoes, and then maybe I wouldn't have rotting squash all around my house either. (True story, we left so many squash in the garden when we tilled up the squash plants, that we got another crop of squash several weeks later because new plants came up from the seeds. It gets a little annoying.)

3. Trade Cooking

Some of us are good at making bread, and some of us are good at making cheese (or yogurt or granola or...) I haven't worked out all the kinks in this idea yet. Because you'll have to be careful about things like the cost of ingredients and the cost of the time. (While a loaf of bread costs less than a dollar in ingredients, it does take several hours, etc. But the cost of granola would be much higher.) So these communities probably need to be kept small, but so long as you and your community work out the details so that everyone has an easier time of cooking whole foods for their families. Because that's the point, to make it easier.

4. Food Classes/Clubs

I'm in the works to form a class here on sourdough bread baking.  It'll be a night together to bake some bread, and then at the end everyone will go home with a loaf and some barm to start making their own bread. If you know how to make something, like bread or kombucha or fermenting or canning, maybe you should organize a class.

Or maybe it doesn't have to be a class so much as a get together to make a bunch of freezer meals together. (Just throwing this idea out there, but you could add a little ministry to this idea by preparing extra together for someone in need.) Canning or freezing to preserve food get-togethers are always fun too. If you have access to a church kitchen, this would work well. You could set up a production line, and whip out several freezer meals fairly quickly.

You could form these get-togethers around making home remedies, diy toiletries, homemade Christmas gifts, or more. Working together is easier than working alone.

Just Do It

The biggest hang up we all have is putting our necks out there. But it's not a personal rejection if no one is willing, you just have to think about making lives easier. And it really does have to make life easier, you can't say it will but then it doesn't. Our flour buying co-op really is easier on everyone. We don't have to think about buying flour again from the grocery store. I get to walk right past that aisle. And then, when it is time to buy flour, I just pick it up from a friend's house. It's easier.


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