Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bountiful Baskets offers affordable produce in expensive times

My friend brought me a Bountiful Basket two weeks ago. In our town a local co-op opened up that is a site for the nationwide co-op known as Bountiful Baskets. The baskets are loaded with fruit and vegetables, and they are overflowing with bounty indeed. The produce is spectacular also, very fresh and tasty. The fruit TASTES like something. Here is what I got this week.

Great basket today. Cantaloupe, 2 heads Kale, large and fresh head Romaine lettuce, blueberries, 6 bananas, 2 lb grapes, huge head cauliflower, head of cabbage, 6 kiwis, 8 plums 3 mangoes. Wow. Just wow. The head of cauliflower is very large, so is the head of romaine.

In every case it costs less to receive all this for $15.00 (plus $1.50 to process so $16.50 in all) than to try and duplicate it at the store. In less time, too. And the quality is much higher than the store. The food is good. You're talking to an ex-crunchy granola, New England VW camper van hippie. I've had many decades of dealing with co-ops and always, I've been disappointed every time. I would not have joined this one unless my friend had bought and delivered a basket into my hands, lol.

I plan to grill the cabbage, bake the kale into chips, and roast the cauliflower. Mango smoothie, cantaloupe smoothie, blueberry muffins, and corn flakes with bananas (and banana pancakes). Romaine salads with seasonally ripe garden tomatoes. Yum. Tomorrow a friend is giving me green tomatoes. I'll bread and bake them at the same time I do the kale chips and cauliflower. We need each other now. Sharing what we have is the way to go, more than ever. (Acts 4:32)

How much did it all cost? $15 and ten minutes of time. WOOT!

I mentioned yesterday that the Depression-era mindset kicks in when paychecks decrease and food gets scarce. Of course, it is nothing like it is in Third World nations now and absolutely nothing like it will be in the Tribulation, but at present, even in wealthier America, people even with jobs find it hard to provide healthy food to their families. Money is depreciated and it buys less. Food costs are increasing. The goal of Bountiful Baskets is to get healthy produce into the hands of families. I think the size of the produce offered at stores is decreasing too. Heads of cauliflower are smaller, plums and kiwis are miniscule now. I don't think it's my imagination, particularly since dry goods packaging is undergoing severe shrinkage, also. That IS a fact. That blog entry demonstrated visually the smaller cracker box issue.

I'd noted here in 2011,
"I was sad to see that the downward spiral of groceries in general is accelerating. Since last week milk went up 50 cents along with many other items, though not all of them went up in price as drastically as milk. In addition to prices going up, sizes are going down. The bagels that I look at each week, longing for but sadly decline to buy at a prohibitive cost of $3.59, suddenly were 1/3 smaller this week. Size of items are getting smaller and package sizes are getting smaller. 13 oz powdered creamer is now 11 ounces. And so on."

The co-op is something I believe we will see more of in coming weeks and months. A volunteer-run, no middleman, neighborly sharing and cooperative kind of thing. Creative ways to make our food and money stretch. I go with a friend and we trade stuff. Last time I got a baby watermelon in my basket and I don't eat watermelons so I gave her mine. This week she gave me a dozen eggs from her chickens when we got to the basket pick-up place. Sadly, the economic times means we often have to cut back. We have to do what we can to stay healthy and to make sure we are getting the kind of food that will keep our families healthy. But in pooling our money we can do the food co-op and still receive good quality produce without having to cut back where it counts. The saving also means I can use the money I'd use for produce to make an offering, or use he savings in other ways. The Baskets are affordable enough that I can buy two and give one to a family in need, also. If you have GMO concerns, it only costs $10 extra to order a 100% certified organic Bountiful Basket.

I rent so I can't put in a garden. Other people don't have the strength to garden. In some cases, town or city ordinances make it illegal to own chickens- like in Chattanooga this week. In other places, it is not allowed to garden on your land, like in condos with Homeowner's Associations. In Oak park MI, a front yard container gardener who owned her own detached home was threatened with 93 days in jail. Same for keeping goats or cows, or meat processing. (I know people who do pig roasts). Some don't even have even the money to start a garden (it costs to buy manure, mulch, seeds and never mind the tractor or machine to bust sod). Have you noticed that it is expensive to be poor?

Gas is cost-prohibitive so often that means getting to the 'good' store farther away is off limits. I noticed two years ago that though I used to buy OJ a lot, I hadn't been. I said out loud to myself, "When did orange juice become a luxury item?"

Anyway go to the website Bountiful Baskets to see if a site is near you. If not, there are directions on how to start one. It is a good way to be neighborly and help each other in Depression-times.

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Further reading
Bountiful Baskets, what was in the first basket I got?

Economic Downturn, depression; tomato, tomato

2 comments:

  1. Please fact-check Bountiful Baskets.
    Bountiful Baskets does not appear to meet the international
    Cooperative Alliance's Principles of Cooperation.
    Nothing wrong with the buyer's club business model they operate under.
    Note that the local volunteers and groups that run the pick-up sites
    are separate entities from the Arizona HQ of Bountiful Baskets.
    However,
    can they verify what they state on their Bountiful Baskets website
    that they are a non-profit? Are they a 501(c)3 or is this just a
    loophole? Can just stating on one's website qualify them as a
    non-profit without third-party verification?

    Arizona Incorporation papers
    http://starpas.azcc.gov/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wsbroker1/names-detail.p?name-id=15466984&type=CORPORATION

    Administratively dissolved.
    Same address as Kodiak Fresh Produce in Phoenix.
    Click through to the scanned documents and review them, see
    how many shares are outstanding for this corporation and who
    the owners are.

    Conservatively guessing a few cents per basket that's not going
    to cover the cost of the goods, with hundreds of sites and
    probably thousands of baskets, that total dollar amount
    adds up. Who gets that, Kodiak or the founders? According to
    the International Cooperative Alliance any profit would be shared
    with the members or they would decide its distribution. I haven't
    been able to find or get that information from BB.

    There are weak or non-existent Cooperative Enterprise Corporate identity laws in
    Arizona.

    There's nothing wrong with the business model they choose,
    but to believe that no profit is made at their AZ HQ when they rely
    on "volunteers" at their pick-up sites is a stretch.

    Bountiful Baskets have not answered my queries at their website
    about their Co-op status and they delete my posts and banned me from
    their Facebook page.

    I want them to confirm their Co-op identity or stop calling themselves
    a Food Co-op. Google other orgs with Food Co-op in their names
    and confirm that they list or link to the International Cooperative
    Alliance's identity, definition and principles of Cooperation. I can't
    find that
    at BB's website FAQ or about us.

    Sources for Cooperative Identity verification:
    1. Food Coop Initiative
    2. International Cooperative Alliance
    3. National Cooperative Business Association
    4. National Cooperative Grocers Association
    5. Consumer Cooperative Management Association
    6. Other groups with Food Co-op in their name who
    link to the ICA Principles of Cooperation

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hey you,

      Thank you for the information. I hope you find the answers you seek :)

      Delete

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