I have been, “mostly vegan,” for about the last 4 years. Admittedly, I’m a late starter in this movement. I didn’t buy into the whole, “vegan thing,” right away, so, sadly, I have spent most of my 62 years of life eating the flesh and by-products of other animals. (After all, this blog isn’t called, “An OLD Woman’s Garden” for nothing.) I pondered veganism for a long time before I made the switch. When I finally did, it was almost effortless, with many thanks to my absolutely, amazing, food co-op, Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op.
The “coop” as we like to call it in my family, opened my eyes to the possibility of better, healthier, and more interesting food products that were well within my budget. Although, I had pondered a change over to an animal free diet for many years previously, once I walked into that co-op door, I had no more excuses to avoid the vegan lifestyle. What’s more, no one at the co-op scoffed at veganism…not one, little eyelash batted at the thought… I was, “all in.”
My 40-year-old co-op looks like any regular grocery store, except you don’t see any of the mega brands of cereals or canned goods, nor any factory farmed meats, or dairy products. The produce section at the co-op is almost entirely organic. Meat and dairy is locally raised and produced. Alternative diet options catering to vegan, gluten-free, etc. abound. There is also a section in the store for herbal supplements and another for natural beauty products and cosmetics. Each and every product in the store has been carefully scrutinized to make sure that it is healthful and true to what it’s label says it is. The store also puts up labels pointing out things that are organic, or non-GMO, so that we are all well informed. The bulk section is economical and environmentally friendly (no excess packaging here,) not to mention amazing, offering anything from freshly ground peanut butter, to dried fruits, to Kamut, to locally grown and milled flours.
If you have not investigated food co-ops, I highly recommend that you do. They can offer you great, local, healthy food, at a much reduced cost. Not to mention that you’ll have a partial ownership in the store. It’s your food, it’s your say! It is the ultimate way to vote with your dollar. You decide what goes on your family’s plate, not to mention what is put on the Co-op shelves, which can add up to a serious vote as to what products you want in our marketplace. Want it organic? Sure. No GMOs? No problem. The “coop” has a policy to try to seek out the best products that are organic and/or non-GMO. Prefer that your food is local? They can do that too AND they will label it on their shelves to let you know.
Have I caught your interest? I hope so. For more information about food co-ops, or where you might find one in your area, please visit: Co+op, Stronger Together.
(Pix coming soon)