Do any of you belong to a food co-op and how does it work in your area? I'm just wondering if you bring your excess produce/meats to substitute for other essentials. Is that how they work?
I guess you can set up rules however you want. Just get together enough people that agree to the rules, and have a planning or set-up meeting. I used to have one that worked like this: Twelve women (all of us were at home moms in the same neighborhood) worked in teams of two each. The cycle was for six weeks, and we would have a turn to go to the Farmers' Market on Airline Drive in Houston (a HUGE market with many farmers coming in from Mexico daily) and buy $60 worth of veggies. That was A LOT. (Today you would probably spend $240.) We bought keeping in mind the loot was to be divided into 12 grocery bags that we had at the home of one of the shopping team members. We went to the home and divided the stuff up. Then we telephoned the other ten members to let them know it was ready. They would come by during the day to pick theirs up, and put the $5.00 in the kitty for next week's shoppers. Your turn on the shopping team came up only once every six weeks, so it was not demanding. Other times you just had to go pick up your groceries and turn in the money. It had a strong social benefit, too, because we sat out in the driveway, drank coffee, and chatted when the Moms were picking up their stuff. Sometimes I didn't have time for that and my kids ran the show if it was at our house.
My kids also kept the financial records. It was part of their home-schooling. It was a lot of fun, too, except for the fact that we had to be up and rolling at 4:30 AM and not all of my kids were morning people. I live too far out in the country to do this now, but I often wish for that arrangement again. -- Marie