By Kristy Alpert
For Dallas-resident Brandon Perez, the decision to join an organic food cooperative (or co-op) came, well, naturally.
“My wife and I used to run a small-scale co-op out of our garage where we offered everything from protein and vegetables to honey and yogurt before joining Urban Acres,” says Perez, director of marketing for Urban Acres, an organic produce market and pick-up co-op in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas.
Based off the centuries-old concept of eating locally, food co-ops both large and small are popping up across the Lone Star State as more and more Texans seek a direct line to their food source. Members of a food co-op basically pool their money to create buying power for farms to be able to distribute to one location where members can meet and pick up their weekly/monthly shares of the produce.
“The biggest benefit, in my opinion, is knowing where your food comes from,” Perez adds. “Everything we get we know was grown with heart and with respect for the land. We’re dealing with small-scale, organic farmers that are stewards of the earth, and they’re doing it because they have a conviction and a passion about what they do. It’s just a much better way to eat.”
Not only do co-ops allow for an amazing variety of in-season produce and more — some co-ops offer everything from grass-fed beef to local honey and herbs — but it’s a wonderful way to enjoy a sense of community with your local farmers and members.
Hungry for more? Here are a few outstanding co-ops around Texas.
Dallas, 214.466.1260, www.urbanacresmarket.com
CENTRAL CITY CO-OP
Houston, 713.524.9408, www.centralcityco-op.org
WHEATSVILLE FOOD CO-OP
Austin, 512.478.2667, www.wheatsville.com