Between August 13th and September 18th, Cultivate Community Food Coop (CCFC) ran a Farm to Table food pilot to deliver locally grown produce and locally prepared cooked meals to our CCFC owners’ homes in the Benicia/Vallejo area. The effort was a partnership between Cultivate Community Food Co-op, Solano County Health and Social Services, and Sustainable Solano.
The pilot gave us a chance to work with local farmers and chefs to explore the costs and work involved in providing our owners with Solano grown food. Eatwell Farms in Dixon and Lockewood Acres in Vacaville provided the organic produce that was offered for sale and Hot Dish, a local catering company, used some of that produce to prepare complete dinners for our owners. Tomatoes, eggs, summer squash, and peppers were some of the most popular items offered for sale. The dinners featured both meat and vegetarian options each week and were delicious!
Our owners used our online store (http://www.cultivatecommunityfood.coop/oscommerce-2.3.3/catalog/) to purchase whatever items they wanted to buy. Once every week, their orders were filled and delivered to their homes free of charge. Low income owners were provided rebates for their meal orders, courtesy of Solano County Health and Social Services.
A total of 16 owner households participated in the pilot. Once the pilot was complete, sentiment surveys were sent to all households seeking their views on what aspects of the effort they enjoyed and any ideas they may have for similar services to be provided for our owners in the future. Those surveys are currently being tabulated and the results will be shared with all our owners via our newsletter.
Judging from the surveys returned so far, our owners enjoyed their first chance to purchase food from their Co-op. The challenge now is to use the data we collected to devise a sustainable, affordable, and convenient option for our owners to continue to enjoy the healthy, environmentally friendly, and fresh foods grown and prepared by our local farms and chefs. Please provide your input and let us know what you would like to see your Co-op focus on as we continue our work with our neighboring farmers, restaurants, and other food service providers to improve the way we eat and strengthen our local economy.