Can you believe the co-op is 3 years old today?!?
Whether you have been a participant and part of the community from day #1 or yesterday, you may be like me and amazed at what this community and mission is and has become over the past 3 years.
I am filled with an overwhelming joy when I look back at what has happened in 3 years.
Before I dive into what has happened in 3 years, let me summarize what our goal and mission has been for starting this co-op community.
As we are celebrating our three-year birthday, Food and Meat Co-op continues to revolutionize the food buying experience in a way unlike any other. This online platform and community has successfully disrupted the traditional food industry, creating a unique and innovative cooperative model that benefits both consumers and producers.
One of the key aspects that sets the Food and Meat Co-op apart is its commitment to supporting local farmers and producers first. By directly connecting consumers with these suppliers, the platform promotes sustainable and ethical practices while ensuring fresher and higher-quality products. Participants have the opportunity to browse through a wide range of locally and regionally sourced meats primarily along with occasional additions of produce, dairy and other food items, all while supporting their local communities. Gluten free food sourcing has also become a primary goal as well due to our growing GF community participants.
A standout feature of our local Food and Meat Co-op is our cooperative structure. Unlike conventional online grocery services, this community operates as a collective, where consumers actively participate in the decision-making process. Through a member-driven system (free to participate along with a VIP paid membership, individuals have a voice in shaping the direction of the cooperative, including product offerings, pricing, and distribution methods. This approach fosters a sense of community and empowers our participants to make informed choices about the food they purchase.
Furthermore, Food and Meat Co-op places a strong emphasis on transparency. Most every product listed on the website includes detailed information about its origin, production methods, and certifications. This enables customers to make conscious decisions aligned with their values, such as choosing better than organic, grass-fed, gluten-free or strictly local options.
The convenience factor is not overlooked either. With a user-friendly website and a streamlined ordering system, Food and Meat Co-op makes it effortless for customers to browse, select, and pay for their desired items. Plus with 21 free local pickup spots and now home delivery in 5 counties, our unique fulfillment process ensures fresh and frozen meats are easily accessible, saving time and effort for our participants and our producers.
Here's what we want to celebrate so far after 3 years:
1. The Community
The Food and Meat Co-op community thrives on the active participation and support of its dedicated participants who purchase food each month. This vibrant community consists of individuals and families who share a common passion for high quality food and meats and a desire to make a positive impact on their communities.
At the heart of this community are the consumers who rely on Food and Meat Co-op as their go-to source for purchasing a majority of their food and meats. These individuals recognize the importance of supporting local farmers and producers and understand the benefits of fresh, high-quality food. By actively choosing to purchase from the Food and Meat Co-op, they not only gain access to a diverse range of products but also contribute to the growth and sustainability of their local food system.
Our very first event back in May of 2020, we had about 60 families that participated at our original 4 locations across Utah. Since then, our community has grown into thousands of participants each month. The majority of the participants participate at least 8 months out of the year, many participating EVERY MONTH!
We have grown our Utah community to be 21 local pickup spots, home delivery to 5 counties to serve the thousands each month.
And....we have expanded this community passion project to communities in SW Wyoming (4 pickup locations between Evanston and Rock Springs) and SW Boise Idaho Area (5 pickup locations between Boise and Caldwell).
Finally, one of the coolest pieces that we have added to the community is the ability to give back. As such, we started and supported many opportunities for food donation throughout the past 3 years, but we have an ongoing relationship with Red Barn to provide beef and pork and other foods for their recovering students. It has been such an amazing blessing to have the community provide financial means to buy food for this organization at wholesale. This is an organization that we wish to continue supporting for years to come!
We are excited about continuing to expand the co-op mission across more of Utah, Idaho and Wyoming and even look at how to serve communities beyond those borders as we receive requests from everywhere.
2. The Farmers and Food Producers
Food and Meat Co-op owes its success and the availability of fresh, high-quality products each month to its dedicated network of farmers and food producers. These suppliers are the backbone of the community, ensuring a diverse range of locally and regionally sourced and sustainable food options for the community.
The farmers and food producers affiliated with the Food and Meat Co-op are passionate about their craft and committed to upholding quality, ethical and environmentally conscious practices. Our local farmers prioritize ethical agriculture, organic farming methods, humane animal treatment, and responsible land stewardship.
We prioritize working with strictly local producers, then we fill holes with regional and US based food producers.
By partnering with farmers and food producers, Food and Meat Co-op fosters a direct connection between producers and consumers, promoting transparency and traceability. This connection allows customers to have a deeper understanding of the origins of their food. Additionally, whether sourced strictly local or from US producers, the local economy is positively impacted from beginning to end.
Three years into this project, we have over 20 local farmers and food producers, some we use every month and some quarterly, and over 30 regional and US based producers that are part of our producer network to provide direct pricing food deals to our community!
We started this adventure with the goal of helping families access better food for less, but what we didn't realize until a few months in was that we were solving a major pain point for farmers and producers. They want to farm and produce. They don't want to also be responsible for selling and distributing. But we have bridged that gap, creating a unique blessing and situation for them in the process of our original goals!
3. The Meats and Foods
Let's EAT! We've gotten to the best part - the variety, selection, quality and some exclusive offerings (only found through the Co-op) makes this whole project one delicious piece!
We have offered over 600 types of meats and foods over the past 3 years. We always have one-time offerings during our monthly themes, but also many favorites that have become a permanent staple either each month or during that food's themed month.
This has made for an exciting food buying experience filled with lots of food diversity so that life never gets boring.
And if you have had a favorite...speak up and get the community on board to bring a favorite back a few times a year to stock up on it again.
As the Food and Meat Co-op celebrates its three-year milestone, it continues to foster a sustainable and inclusive food ecosystem. By connecting consumers directly with local producers, operating as a cooperative, prioritizing transparency, and emphasizing convenience, this community has redefined the food buying experience.