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Start Your Own Neighborhood Co-op

Living Smart

 Three people gardening.

A neighborhood co-op builds community, leaves no carbon footprint from the transportation of food and assures a steady supply of fresh herbs and vegetables. Whether you live on a farm, in a suburban neighborhood or in an apartment complex, growing and sharing food is simple, inexpensive and good for your mind and body.

Start by organizing a meeting with your interested neighbors. Compile a list of your co-op’s members, their contact information, the amount of space they can set aside and their foods or herbs of interest. It is useful for members to gather in smaller groups to make it easier to share resources and information. Decide if you will grow your crops organically, use heirloom or GMO seeds and plant starts and how you will control pests. The equitable distribution of your bounty and the disposal and/or composting of the plant waste should also be agreed upon.

Arrange meals around what you have grown, share your experiences, laugh at your mistakes and enjoy your successes. Expand into selling your food at farmer’s markets or, if there isn’t one in your area, start one. Invite your neighbors and the local press to your meals – spread the word.