With the rebirth of the local movement and the whole idea of being green, food has taken on a whole new perspective for many people. There is the food that's organic, food that's local, food that's treated humanely (think open pasteurs, grass fed cows and free range chickens, not stuck in a pen), there is supporting the local business and local community. Ever since I read Michael Pollans, "Omnivores Dilema." (AN AMAZING BOOK) I've been much more interested in getting local.
Sustainable, organic, healthy, green, profitable, local, all are words I've seen describe food. Recently I have been looking for grass fed beef. If you don't know, grass fed beef is one of the super foods. It usually has as much omega 3 fatty acids as wild salmon. Great protein source. Awesome. So I came across West Michigan Coopertive a few weeks ago.
West Michigan Co-Op brings local farmers and vendors together with the public, essentially eliminating the middle man. You get a chance to get great food. The farmers get to sell you their product direct. The first week of every month you go the WMCo-Op website and place your order. The last Wed of the month you pick it up at the corner of Godfrey and Hall in Grand Rapids, MI. I was able to talk to the founder tonight and he says it has been going for about 4 years. They add a few new vendors a year, but they must pass some strict guidelines that a committee looks into. This year a Seafood Vendor was added.
Today was my first pickup. It was a great experience. The people that volunteer to run it were helpful, very well organized, and the prices are great. I bought 3lbs grass fed ground beef. Some grass fed burgers, Cajun beef jerky, 100% cocoa powder and a lb of lamb. I'm looking forward to some great meals. If you're a West Michigan resident, I highly recommend you check it out. Those outside the area, get involved in your farmers market and find your local co-op. You will get better, healthier food, and support your local economy.