Springwood's veggie co-op provides tasty low cost food

A food buying group in Springwood provides families with fresh, high quality in-season fruit and vegetables at wholesale prices.  Each fornight a spare box is made up for a needy family.

The Springwood “Veggie Co-op” has been running for two decades or more, for the benefit of families in the Blue Mountains.  Thanks to the friendly owner of Fresh World at Nepean Square in Penrith, the Co-op is able to buy fresh, high quality in-season fruit and vegetables at wholesale prices. 

A roster is created for shoppers every term, with each family rostered on to shop three or four times a year.  With the benefit of a shopping guide prepared by the Co-op’s coordinator, Koleta McDonald, and the help of Gus at Fresh World, the shopper travels to Penrith, buys the produce, returns to Springwood and packs it in boxes.  For half a day of work, several times a year, families are able to get the benefit of two big boxes of fruit and vegetables a fortnight for $40.  Not bad!

Several people from different churches are involved in the co-op.  Indeed, Koleta, who is a member of Springwood Uniting Church, thinks that it is a great model for churches.  “A co-op would work really well in a church where there are young families who need a lot of food.  You really notice the difference in price,” she says. 

The Springwood Veggie Co-op is not only committed to helping out its members, but also others in need in the community.  Each fortnight, a spare box is made up for a needy family – a practice that Koleta says would appeal especially to churches: “Running a co-op is a great way for churches to get involved in their local community.  People from the neighbourhood can be a part of it, and the co-op can also provide a service for families who are struggling.”