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Northern Colorado food co-operatives that you should check out: buying local is being green

Most of us spend our grocery money in grocery stores and although many businesses in Fort Collins buy local produce (Sunflower, Sprouts, King Soopers), there are even better ways to support the community. One of these are food co-operatives. Following are four local co-operatives  or community supported agriculture and some basic information about them:

1.CSU CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) http://www.specialtycrops.colostate.edu/CSU_CSA/SCP_csu_csa_members.htm

A community supported agricultural system provides its shareholders with a supply of weekly, fresh produce and also helps support the local economy. This CSA directly benefits university students who work in the specialty crops program with a passion for organic agriculture.

In addition to supporting education and the community, your children will have a better opportunity to understand where the food they eat comes from. As one participant said, "It's important for my child to see food doesn't come from the grocery store, but from people who labor to provide something that is high quality and delicious."

Price comparison: A full share for $480, a half share for $250, or fruit and flower shares available for $75.

2. Grant Family Farms CSA http://www.grantfarms.com/home.php

Located in Wellington, CO (just north of Fort Collins) and offering a variety of CSA options, Grant Family Farm provides winter share with bread and eggs as well as the traditional CSA shares of fresh, crisp, organic vegetables and fruits. The first farm in Colorado to have been certified organic by the state, Grant Family Farms has been growing organic for 35 years.

Price comparison: $350-$800 depending on share type, however a 5% discount is currently available for 2010 season shares.

3. SHARE Colorado http://www.sharecolorado.com/index.cfm?action=how_does_share_work

Although not a traditional CSA, SHARE is a food cooperative for those struggling to meet their grocery budget needs. Month to month, families ca order packages of food items, picking htem up once a month at the SHARE site.

Price comparison: food is purchased in grocery, specialty meat, and small item bundles in all price ranges, how much you spend depends on how much you would like.

4. The Fort Collins Food Cooperative http://fcfood.coop/coop.php

Started in the early 1970's, The Fort Collins Food Cooperative is a store that receives produce from local growers including Nic and Sara at Colona Community Farms, Josh, Conner & Liz at Grant Family Farms, Sue and Karen at Wolf Moon Farms, Meg and Arden at Windsor Dairy and others like them.

Considered a grocer's market, they're located at 250 E. Mountain Ave. Fort Collins, CO 80524. You can find anything from organic produce to body care, meat to bulk products at reasonable prices. Buy local, be green!

Price comparison: like a grocer (where you are encouraged to bring your own containers) for food, but you can also buy a share in the business for $160/household and receive periodic patronage funds., and members usually receive 20% off shelf prices.

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