A few years ago, I kept hearing of all the wonderful West Michigan farms around our area and knew they sold items like meat, cheese, eggs, bread, vegetables…I just wasn’t sure HOW I might purchase them. It was overwhelming to think of all the research I’d have to put in and would I have to buy huge amounts in bulk? Would it cost and arm and a leg? Would I have to drive around to 10 different farms/food sources to get what I needed? It was a bit of paralysis by analysis – too much to have to figure out so I did…nothing. Can you relate?
Enter: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) + a Buyers Club. These two methods of grocery shopping shifted the way we eat and made #fromfarmtofork easy and accessible.
In fact, we had the privilege of hosting two main players in this category at our Eat Local event last night: EIGHTH DAY FARM and THE REAL FOOD EATER BUYERS CLUB.
“In Eighth Day Farm’s CSA (short for Community-Supported Agriculture), members pay a lump sum at the beginning of the growing season to subscribe to the year’s vegetables. Each week from June through October, members come to pick up their share of what’s in season. You get a steady stream of fresh, local, earth-friendly produce at a fair price, while we get predictable income and reduced risk. It’s a win-win! (Actually, it’s win-win-win since we donate any extra produce to Community Action House for their food pantry and Community Kitchen–about 10% of what we grow.)
At Eighth Day we are not certified organic, but follow a set of organic practices we call Regenerative Agriculture.
When you sign up you can choose between two pickup days/times: Tuesday 3:30-6:00 PM or Saturday 10 AM-12 PM.”
Eighth Day has a few different level of shares available, depending on the volume and variety of vegetables you’d like to have each week. Here are some examples of veggies you’d likely receive!
Arugula, Asian Salad Greens, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Rainbow Chard, Collard Greens, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Fennel, Garlic, Onions, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Romaine Lettuce, Sweet Peppers, Shallots, Radishes, Scallions, Potatoes, Zucchini, Spinach, Sugar Snap Peas, Heirloom Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Salad Turnips, Winter Squash, Basil, Cilantro and other Fresh Herbs, and more.
Check out their website for other amazing ways to get involved – volunteering, becoming a sustainable member, or helping with their justice and charity initiatives like the amazing The New Fast Food program.
Valeo member, Melissa Boersma, was also here last night sharing more about her venture: The Real Food Eater Buyers Club. We (Mike and Jess) have been a part of this club for over three years now and it’s one of our very favorite things!
You may have heard of a Food Co-Op before, but a Buyers Club is a little different. In a food co-op, each member is expected to contribute – whether that’s sorting, finding vendors, helping at farms, or doing the organizing or orders, etc. With a Buyers Club, you just order what you want online and Melissa does the work for you! She’ll communicate with the vendors, schedule deliveries, take the food off the trucks, sort them into boxes by family, and manage pick ups and other details. You order once a month via the online system and then pick up your items (all ready to go) in Melissa’s barn in Zeeland.
Buyers Club are wonderful to be able to receive wholesale pricing on many healthy food items – plus, it cuts down on impulsive buying (you know that list of 5 things that turns into 25 things once you see items in the store…?! ;)) and helps keep you on the real food / whole food train.
What can kind of items can you purchase through the Real Food Eater Buyers Club? Well, the possibilities are almost endless! Fermented sprouted bread, grassfed meat and eggs, antibiotic-free hand-milked Amish cheese, bulk dry good, toiletries, organic shade-grown coffee, herbs, kid’s snacks and more. Some items come in bulk but most come with the ability to choose as much or as little as you’d like.
If you’d like to try out the RFBC, you can do a month without having to commit to the yearly fee. We think you’ll absolutely love it!
SIGN UP TO TRY A MONTH OF THE REAL FOOD EATER BUYERS CLUB
(email: [email protected])
We hope these resources are helpful as you strive to move down the continuum of eating foods filled with life-giving nutrition – while also celebrating and supporting those right here in our community. We don’t receive anything special from sharing this info with you 🙂 – we just think they’re that awesome.
Do you have a favorite farm or local healthy food resources? Please share with us and we’ll give them a shout-out in an upcoming Facebook post!
Happy Healthy to you,
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Now we need your help to secure our spot at #1 – please vote daily now through March 4. Thank you SO much!
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