New program combines cheap food, community involvement

A new community program will allow students to obtain discounted fruits and vegetables in return for community service.

The Community Food Co-op allows people to buy cheaper healthy food for volunteering one Saturday a month to pick up the food and deliver it to the people who ordered it.

The co-op offers food 50 percent below retail price because the organization buys from local farmers who can’t compete with the industrial farms.

Fruits and vegetables at the neighborhood grocery stores are expensive because they’re from collective industrial farms.

“Farming is being swallowed by urbanization,” said program coordinator Jen Colby at the introductory meeting held in the Union on Nov. 15.

To get started, the co-op encourages participants to form teams to organize the picking up and passing out of food.

The program in Salt Lake City is still in the start-up process. “Already, there are approximately 20 co-op groups in the area, including a student group in BYU and three churches in the valley,” said Jan Dickson, project coordinator.

The goal is to have 35 groups by the first scheduled day of food distribution on Jan. 21.

Students and community members can accomplish this by meeting with friends, neighbors and people on the same dorm floor to join and form groups, Dickson said.

“It makes you feel like you’re making a difference,” said Renae Skordas, a junior English major. “It’s like actually getting the plow out and planting seeds.”

The idea of saving money and helping the community entices many students.

“It’s cheaper food, and who doesn’t want to help out the people around them? Especially since you know the help is going where it needs to go,” said Andy Thomas, a junior in biology.

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