Why You Need to Join a Fruit and Veg Co op

$7.99 for a head of cauliflower?
$3 for a single ear of corn???
I had decided shopping at my local major supermarket chain was like having a second mortgage , so I was going to give them full access to my bank account. Or better still, get my boss to pay them directly instead of me! Then I saw a call out for a local fruit and veg co op and decided to give it a go.

A few months on and I love it!!! Absolutely couldn’t live without it. There’s 12 families, we put in $20 each and that covers our fruit and veg for the week. Sometimes I might pop to the local green grocer if my toddler is obsessed with something specific eg cucumbers, otherwise, for my family of 4 (two little kids), this literally covers our entire week’s worth of fresh food. Some weeks we don’t get through the whole box, and I share the over flow with my neighbours, or it keeps as the produce is all incredibly fresh. I look forward to our box every week and my toddler loves helping me unpack it, as he takes a bite out of every apple and tomato he can get his little hands on.
As well as significantly reducing the amount we now spend on food every week, there have been other great benefits. These are mainly the friendships I’ve made with other local mums, some of which have become very dear to me. I love our group, the sense of community, the friends I’ve made, the early morning trips to Flemington Markets every 6 weeks, meeting the famers and chatting to them about their produce. Plus I’m not supporting the major supermarkets, who are known for their ruthless treatment of farmers.
Since last week, another benefit of our co op is that we have agreed to support the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown by all chipping in a little extra and giving them a box every week. Most asylum seeker families are in desperate need of fresh fruit and veg, and it’s a luxury they can’t always afford. The Centre was really appreciative when we contacted them about doing this, and to know we can support them so simply and effectively is heartwarming.
It’s great to know that 12 local mums are making a significant difference in our own families, and now in other people’s lives as well. If there’s a co op in your area, make sure you join it. And if not, start one up. Have I mentioned how much I love our co op?!?”
How it works – in a nutshell

  • Each family commits to paying $20 a week in return for a box of approximately 50% fruit/ 50% veg. We have a few things we get every week – salad leaves in the summer, onions, potatoes and garlic
  • A roster is drawn up for members to shop in pairs. (We have 12 people – this is enough to only have to shop once every 6 weeks and two trolleys worth of shopping (also, a medium sized SUV is enough!)
  • The shoppers divide up the shopping into boxes and members pick up produce in an hour’s window from the house of one of the shoppers
  • Members pay for the box when they collect (we trialled payment in advance too)
  • Most of our communication is done in a secret Facebook group – including setting up an event for each week’s shop, notification of boxes being ready for collection and sharing recipes and ideas!

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  • Teresa
    07/10/2015 at 1:56 am

    I’d like to join a fruit and veg. Could someone please contact me if a spot opens up. Thank u. Number is 0434 381 911

    • IWM
      07/10/2015 at 2:40 am

      Where are you based Teresa? If you put your suburb other co op members will be able to get back to you if they know your location and a spot becomes available.

  • Ana lauro
    04/12/2015 at 11:34 pm

    I would like to join a fruit and veg coup.. Anyone interested?

    • Amy
      12/07/2016 at 11:57 am

      Hi Ana, were you still Interested in joining? I have just started one and have 5 confirmed mums so we are after a couple more to join! Let me know if you still want to join one! 🙂 amy

  • Emma
    02/04/2016 at 2:03 am

    Hi, I’m in Balmain and am interested in joining a co op if there is one going. Cheers Emma
    0404 874 302

    • IWM
      04/04/2016 at 4:48 am

      Emma, search the closed fb group – there was one set up not long ago and I think they needed more members.

    • Amy
      12/07/2016 at 11:55 am

      Hi Emma, I have just started a co op- there is 5 of us confirmed so far (we live in Canterbury, Ashfield erskieneville and St. Peter’s) . If you are still interested in joining one feel free to contact me!

  • Nitu
    04/04/2016 at 10:55 am

    Hi Emma, thanks for your interest. I’m not aware of any new co ops that have started up recently. I’d recommend you put an ad up on the IWM fb page and ask if anyone is keen to form one.
    We have 12 families in ours, which works well from a numbers point of you. We each go shopping in pairs approx every 6 wks.
    If you get a new co op going we can share our guidelines, so it’s easy to set up/administer.
    Good luck, Nitu

  • Amy
    12/07/2016 at 11:53 am

    Hi nitu,
    I have just recently posted in the Facebook group and so far we have got 5 mums confirmed for the fruit and veg co op! This is the first time any of us have done it and I wondered if you could contact me to give us some tips on starting up’ ? Could you send me your ‘guidelines please’ any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated!! Ps- we already have a fb group set up!!
    Thanks so much!

    • Nitu Gupta
      22/07/2016 at 10:08 am

      Hi Amy, sorry for the delayed response. I’ve asked for a copy of our guidelines (I can’t find them) and as soon as I get them I’ll send them on to you. Good luck in starting up a new co op. We’ve now been going for over a year and I can’t ever imagine going back to shopping at the local Woolies

  • Bec
    23/06/2017 at 11:48 pm

    Hi Nitu,
    I’m in the process of setting up a new coop and would love if you could share your guidelines as it sounds like your coop is a great success!

  • Rishah
    21/01/2018 at 11:18 am

    Hi Nitu
    Could you please help me in setting up a co-op?

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