Thursday, November 3, 2011

Food Co-op Shopping = Big Gluten-Free Savings

While it's good to stay upbeat about this here GF life, let's be honest: eating gluten-free? SO EXPENSIVE. Even if you cook most of your meals from whole foods, the GF grain-based items on your list are likely to cost two to four times as much as their gluten-containing counterparts. If you bake at home, you know that those non-wheat flours are costly. But what can you do to keep costs under control, save for buying in bulk, couponing, and sale hunting?

Food co-ops are a great option. Often associated with hippy crunchy folks, co-ops have made their way into the urban mainstream, including here in dear old Brooklyn! Co-ops generally operate under one of two basic systems: (1) all shoppers must become members and work a certain number of shifts to maintain membership, or (2) anyone can come in and shop, but those who become working members receive much deeper discounts as well as other benefits. You can save a bundle on your GF items and everything else - fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat - and even household items such as bakeware and cleaning supplies.
At this point, there are two full-time food co-ops with storefronts in Brooklyn: The Flatbush Food Co-op and The Park Slope Food Co-op.

The Greene Hill Food Co-op (in Clinton Hill) is slated to open later this month. Greene Hill will mainly serve Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Fort Greene, and Prospect Heights.

There are two other co-ops that are currently acting as buying clubs, but working towards securing a physical storefront: The Bay Ridge Food Co-op and Bushwick Food Co-op. By becoming a member now you can help these co-ops meet their fund-raising needs and get those stores open in your area sooner!

Co-ops are a great way to reduce your grocery bill and may help you connect with gluten-free people in your area, so please consider joining one of Brooklyn's!

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