Recently I had the privilege of meeting and for a few moments conversing with Mercedes Zel Pappas at the Utah Community Co-op (click the picture above to link to their home page). I was shocked to discover how much the co-op puts back into our local community. Truthfully my “fixation” if you will, on real food has only been present for the past two to three years. Thankfully for all involved there are people like Mercedes who have been working hard at this for longer than that. I was excited to learn that her concern for the food she was eating started much the same as mine and many others I have talked to. Mercedes was concerned for the food her children both present and future would be eating, and she decided to take matters into her own hands
I would be more than impressed with the co-op based simply on the fact that all of their food,especially produce is organic, but the co-op is so much more than that. With all of the work they do in our community they were able to donate 1 million dollars to Utah programs last year. Trying to stay as local as possible the co-op works with 101 farmers 85 of which are local, which is far higher than most super markets you will visit. Admittedly staying entirely local can be difficult in Utah because our growing season is not the longest on record and we may very well starve through the winter if relied solely on green house produce.
With conflicting opinions on organic food swirling daily, a quick comparison of organic versus “conventional food” is a nice reminder of the importance of establishments that stress organic food ONLY.
I will not claim that conventional produce isn’t better for you than processed food for instance, but at the low costs provided by groups like the co-op I would like to believe that more people will make the investment in their health. Food is fuel and the more fuel you can get from your food the better, right?? Think of Organic food as if it were Chevron with techron (whatever techron is). I pay more for the gas that my car runs the best on, and should do the same for the food my body runs better on as well.
As someone who knows full well how much cancer costs, organic food is worth the effort 🙂
While good, nutritious, organic and low priced food is their mission the co-op tries to stock products for most of your daily needs.
Including but not limited to supplies for cleaning your home and what’s inside it 🙂
If nothing else the samples of the self care products are worth dropping by for 🙂
Like most people I have stumbled through grocery stores looking for that one particular item and not found it. When I get to the register and they ask, as they always do, if I found everything ok my answer is always yes. I’m not blaming the stores for not having what I need or for not putting it where I can find it, most likely because I don’t feel like they would see it as important as I do. The co-op is a little different. Weekly the post comes up on Facebook asking what the co-op members would like to see, and often asking a preference between different case items that can be bought. Between you and I, No grocery store has ever Facebooked me to ask what kind of produce I would like.
Aside from food and the donations and the coming community garden (more on that in a minute) co-op members frequently donate clothing, food, household items, etc. to different charities and causes. The NEW2U room houses gently used items that we all need from time to time, and (as pictured below) the profits are earmarked for a specific need.
Just days before I met Mercedes the co-op had sealed the deal on a piece of property that they will be turning into a community garden. I have seen and heard of communtiy gardens before but this one in particular represents the next phase for a group of people led by a passionate person who I am confident will continue to do great things for my home state.
The up and coming community garden
It’s already looking better.
With volunteers gathering to clean up at the garden plot I can’t wait to see more pictures as it evolves. I may even need to drop by myself. Until then I can always take full advantage of the co-op and all that it currently has to offer.
One of many displays set up throughout the co-op
Veggie Stix anyone?? They have a bunch of flavors 🙂
The Stouche had a hard time deciding what drink to get (not surprisingly)