What is a Food Co-op?
A Food Co-op is a group of families buying food together and sharing the labor involved to save money and/or to get better products or products normally unavailable in their area.
Co-op clubs also mean buying power. Since most organic health food is more expensive than run of the mill foods which are full of GMOs and pesticides, there are many families who don't think they can afford it. A buying club makes these options more accessible to families who really would like to include more of them in their diet.
Marando Farms brings local produce weekly to our weekend farmers market. For Co-op members; Monthly, we include local honey, fresh eggs, dairy, beef, poultry and pork that have been shipped in from farms in Florida to Pennsylvania(depending on the season). We buy from mostly local, organic and some ecological farmers and work closely with them to support their efforts to grow food and raise livestock in an ecologically sound manner in our communities.
We work constantly to refine and improve our service. We welcome your suggestions. We are also different in that we are the only group that is really a co-op. Our members actually work! This allows lower prices, better quality food, and we get to meet people with similar interests in our area.
Why buy local?
To savor rich, full flavored, freshly picked, nutritious food
Standard commercial food travels over 1500 miles to reach your store shelves, losing its nutritional value and flavor in transport. The average grocery store vegetable is a week old on arrival and often requires preservatives.
Locally grown food, picked at the family farm, is immediately delivered to your family table where its taste and nutritional value are at their peak. Enjoy unique and flavorful heirloom varieties unavailable in mass-produced and shipped food.
To enrich the local economy
Most profits of the industrial food system go to a middle-man or giant agribusiness CEO thousands of miles away. Spending your dollars in the community keeps your money cycling within the local economy, providing economic opportunities and a flow of monies to a thriving community. Spending money through Homegrown helps more money for each product go directly to the producer, reducing the loss of family farms that causes rural communities to deteriorate. Supporting small farmers preserves open space, jobs, and the security of a local, healthful food supply.
To ensure a safe and secure food supply
The diversity of a local food system and the ability to know each producers practices ensures a safer supply of healthy food. Supporting local farmers and renewing rural small-scale agriculture helps guarantee a consistent flow of food to local communities year round. Most mass produced foods are heavily treated with chemicals, hormones, antibiotics and/or are genetically modified or engineered. Knowing the practices of the farmers you buy your food from ensures a healthy, reliable and safe food supply.
To build a self-sufficient, caring community
Knowing those who grow your food, their practices, ethics and cultural heritage helps foster rich and lasting relationships and caring communities. Saving farmers is a prerequisite to saving diversity. Communities that save their agricultural diversity retain their own options for growth and self-reliance. Homegrown operates as a cooperative business as it requires involvement from the community. See cooperative principles.
To ensure clean air, water, and the protection of rich traditional cultures
By reducing our carbon footprint, using renewable energy sources for transportation, limiting delivery miles, and promoting sustainable, ethical farming practices, we are ensuring the long-term preservation of our land and health of our communities. Our producers are good stewards of their land, using only sustainable and/or organic practices.
A tremendous amount of fossil fuel is used to transport foods long distances. Combustion of these fuels releases carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and other pollutants into the atmosphere, contributing to global climate change, acid rain, smog and air pollution. The refrigeration required to keep fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meats from spoiling during the long transport also burns up excessive energy.
Food processors use a large amount of paper and plastic packaging to keep food fresh (or at least looking fresh) for a longer period of time. This packaging eventually becomes waste that is difficult if not impossible to reuse or recycle. The industrial farms on which these foods are often produced are also major sources of air and water pollution. Small, local farms tend to be run by farmers who live on their land and work hard to preserve it. Buying local means you can talk directly to the farmer growing your food and find out what they do and how they do it, encouraging them to be responsible stewards of a healthy planet.