Fare trade

Category Archives: Co-op Community

Fare trade
27th March, 2019

How does the Co-op stack up against its competitors price-wise?

Most certified organic fruit and vegetables are cheaper at the Co-op than local supermarkets.

With three major supermarkets, a new bulk food store and the Co-op in town, Katoomba shoppers are spoilt for choice. So we’re making it a little easier to compare apples with apples and find the best deal on fresh produce, bulk goods and staples with this price comparison table.

Download this table as a pdf

When assessing the table important factors to consider include the Co-op’s pricing on fresh fruit and veg. We keep our mark-up to a minimum to make produce more affordable for members. And we prioritise local and bulk products which ensures provenance and reduced or nil packaging.

There’s no denying organic food can be expensive, but if you buy what’s in season and local you can save.

You will note our organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is more expensive than the two major supermarkets. This is due to the high quality of our product and suppliers. Rosnay olive oil is produced in Canowindra, 200 kilometres west of Katoomba, by the Statham family. The Stathams grow olives, grapes and figs using biodynamic principles. They also developed a community of certified organic farms in Canowindra to regenerate degraded land and assist the sustainability and harmony of a number of small growers.

Our other organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is from Toscana in the Grampians region of Victoria. Established in 1943, this award-winning family owned business values quality over quantity and is one of Australia’s oldest olive groves.

These oils are also sold in bulk, something the supermarkets don’t do.

Prices are current as at Wednesday March 27.

Community small grants
27th March, 2019

It may not be a well-known fact but Katoomba’s original bulk wholefoods and organic grocery store, Blue Mountains Food Co-op, donates 10% of its annual surplus to local social justice, environmental and food-related organisations every year.

The quiet achiever, established in 1981 as a not-for-profit member owned and managed co-operative, is now over 2,500 members strong, and provides regular support to community groups via food vouchers, cash donations and philanthropic programs.

Recent beneficiaries include Earth Recovery Food Rescue, Aboriginal Culture and Resource Centre, Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group (BMRSG), Women’s Health and Resource Centre, local public schools, neighbourhood centres, land care groups and community gardens.

George Winston, Fundraising Coordinator at BMRSG, says donations received from the Co-op help his group provide asylum seeker families with food, school supplies, medical and rent assistance. “We are hugely grateful to the Co-op for the cash injections which enable us to continue our vital work,” said Mr Winston.

Other projects supported by the Co-op include Toolo’s Repair Cafe, the hugely successful Edible Garden Trail, and a pilot outreach program, Nourishing Families, developed to inspire healthy eating habits. “Nourishing Families, now in its second year at North Katoomba Community Hub, has been a great success and we have plans to roll it out for other community groups,” said Jacqueline Forster, Co-op Marketing and Community Education Officer. “It has always been the Co-op’s remit to give back to community and this year we are pleased to announce a new Small Grants program.”

Co-op Manager, Halin Nieuwenhuyse, said the Board was delighted to be able to offer up to $10,000 worth of community grants in 2019. “Thanks to the support and patronage of our loyal members and shoppers the Co-op experienced unprecedented sales last financial year,” Ms Nieuwenhuyse explained. “This has enabled us to offer grants for specific community projects in need of financial assistance to set up, maintain or progress initiatives.”

Applications for the Co-op grants open Monday April 1 and close Thursday May 30, and will be judged by the Co-op’s Donations Committee. Beneficiaries will be announced in late June 2019.

Eligibility

Only Blue Mountains-based, not-for-profit, non-government organisations will be eligible to apply for the Blue Mountains Food Co-op Community Small Grants Program. Organisations must be working in social justice, environmental and food-related fields. Individuals may not apply.

To apply please complete the form and address the criteria below in a separate word document.

Criteria

  • Describe the main activities of your organisation.
  • Detail the specific project for which funds are required.
  • Identify and demonstrate the specific needs of your target group.
  • Present a costing/budget for the implementation of your project.
  • Describe the implementation of your project and how services will be delivered.
  • Outline expected outcomes of your project for which funds are required.
  • Provide evidence of administration of similar projects, or describe relevant experience, skills or qualifications within the organisation for implementing the project.
  • Detail reporting methods and evaluation of project outcomes.
  • Discuss plans for ongoing delivery of services post funding.

DOWNLOAD APPLICATION FORM

Please email or mail completed applications to:

manager@bmfoodcoop.org.au

or

BM Food Co-op Community Small Grants Program

c/- The Manager

Blue Mountains Food Co-op

PO Box 305

Katoomba NSW 2780

Illustration by Ruby Jones @rubyalicerose

You may have noticed our donations box just inside the front door of the Co-op at checkout 1. Every few months we choose a new group or humanitarian agency to assist. Thanks to your generous support we recently raised $525 for the Indonesian earthquake/tsunami relief fund which has been donated to Oxfam to distribute.

Donations received in the three months prior to that assisted the Close the Gap program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

And now our new goal is to raise funds for the Muslim community in Christchurch. We thank you in advance for any spare change you can donate to this worthy cause.

Grow your own
17th January, 2019

Get set for barrow loads of inspiration on the 2019 Blue Mountains Edible Garden Trail.

It’s only a few weeks until the Edible Garden Trail 2019 kicks off across the mountains.

Over 45 gardens including back and front yards, commercial, community and school gardens will be open to the pubic to showcase the various ways we are growing food, resilience and community.

It’s a great chance to get inspired to start your own vegie patch, learn new tricks and tips, and share advice with fellow green thumbs.

Check out our website instagram and facebook page for all the information and purchase your tickets online.

Environment news

Get behind the Colong Foundation’s fight to save the wild rivers of the Blue Mountains National Park.

Give a Dam is the grassroots community campaign to stop the destruction of the Blue Mountains National Park and the over development in western Sydney from the raising of Warragamba Dam wall.

According to the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, “raising the Warragamba Dam wall is a developer-driven proposal that will make it easier to build on flood-prone land in western Sydney – against the wishes of local communities.

“Raising the dam wall would also destroy 65 kilometres of wilderness rivers and inundate 4,700 hectares of the world heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park.”

If you’d like to get involved you can attend a campaign event or volunteer training day. A special screening of a documentary made by the Colong Foundation will be held on February 16 at The Springwood Hub and February 19 at Mt Vic Flicks.

For more information go to giveadam.org.au. And don’t forget you can talk about the wild rivers campaign over a coffee with Greg Davis from Wilderness Coffee Project at the Co-op most Saturday mornings.

Back to school (and work)
Gear up with all the latest food and beverage storage containers in store now.

Eco kids

Send them back to school with all the non-plastic eco-lunchbox essentials. We’ve got a large selection of Keep Leaf and 4 My Earth reusable sandwich and food wraps in various sizes. A huge range of Cheeki stainless steel water bottles and lunch boxes. More food storage containers from Ever Eco, U-Konserve and Green Essentials including square and rectangular divided lunchboxes, bento and tiffin-style rectangular and round lunchboxes and stackable, nesting, mini and small round snack boxes. For thirsty kids there’s Earthlust, Klean Kanteen and Kid Kanteen water bottles and stylish and practical Ever Eco and Cheeki insulated smoothie tumblers and straws. In soft lunch bags we have 4 My Earth, U-Konserve and Keep Leaf insulated bags and totes and reusable bamboo cutlery by Ever Eco, U-Konserve and Rechusable.

And who said kids get to have all the fun. Our Commuter Pack will have you travelling in eco-friendly style on that long trek to the city for work or uni. Keep calm and caffeinated with the original glass Keep Cups, insulated stainless steel beverage cups and smoothie tumblers plus choose from the grown up range of lunch boxes, water bottles and lunch totes.

Shelf talk

Good news for the New Year is that we have secured a good quantity of Jasmine, Brown Basmati and White Basmati Rice which have been out of stock for a while.

Unfortunately, there’s no prospect of the Gluten Free staple Hulled Millet. Apparently following crop failures Australian farmers have not replanted this crop, likewise Puffed Millet is also currently unavailable.

Look out for some Paleo wraps from Ancient Harvest and Paleo breads from Venerdi. We’ve tried some samples and they certainly are tasty.

Also if you can’t see what you want please ask one our or friendly staff members. And although you may not necessarily see me in the shop I work Monday to Thursday and I’m always happy to help you with your enquiries.

Mike Patterson, Stock Coordinator

Fresh as

There’s lots of fabulous summer fruit and vegies coming in now!

Fruit – a variety of gorgeous berries available this week – we have blackberries, blueberries and strawberries in stock. Lots of exceptionally good cherries from Tasmania coming in too, and Farmer Hayden’s giant peaches from South Australia have been the yummiest peaches we’ve ever had. We also now have red (Flame) and white (Menindee) seedless grapes coming in.

Vegies – gorgeous multi-coloured carrots (orange, yellow, purple) available again and multiple varieties of eggplant (round, snow white and Angelina varieties).

Local fruit & veg supply is often intermittent but we had a large number of local cucumbers and zucchini coming in. Michael Hurst has been bringing in beautiful lettuce heads, but with this heat wave they probably won’t last long.

Sonya Byron, Fruit & Veg Coordinator

Reducing food waste
21st November, 2018

Dietician and mindfulness practitioner, Sallyanne Pisk, shares her tips for reducing food waste.

Eight per cent of the greenhouse gases produced internationally come from food waste. This is why reducing waste is so important. It also means that if we stopped wasting food there would be enough food to feed everyone.

Tips to reduce food related waste

Food containers

  • Use your own reusable non-plastic water bottle.This is good for the environment and your health.
  • Use your own reusable non-plastic coffee/tea mug.
  • Use your own containers. These can be used for unpackaged meat, poultry, seafood and deli items.
  • Try alternative food wraps such as silicon zip lock bags and muslin coated wax wraps.
  • Store larger quantities of food in glass or stainless-steel storage containers.
  • Recycled glass jars can be used for smaller food items such as ½ onion, tomato or lemon.
  • When storing a cut avocado, retain the peel to cover the cut section of the fruit. Then store the avocado inside an airtight container.

Shopping

  • Plan your meals for the week.
  • Buy only the quantities of perishable foods that you need for the week, based on your meal plan.
  • Make a shopping list as something in your refrigerator, freezer or pantry runs out. And only buy what is on the list!
  • Look for firm fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • In season local food is fresher and will keep longer.
  • Shop at a food co-operative or local market where food is fresh, mostly local and free of packaging.

To read the rest of this article and more great tips and advice from Sallyanne go to her blog here and catch up with Sallyanne in store on Wellness Wednesdays.

 

The 12 Herbs of Christmas workshop

Learn how to make your own herbal remedies in this hands-on workshop conducted by Herbalist and Educator, Nick Read, and the Co-op’s student Naturopath, Sonya Byron.

Teas, tinctures, tissanes, tonics and topical preparations are covered in this insightful and entertaining workshop featuring the 12 herbs of Christmas: Calendula, Chamomile, Echinacea, Elderberry, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Licorice, Marshmallow, Peppermint, Thyme plus a bonus number 13: Yarrow!

Our last herbal workshop sold out quickly so don’t delay, book today.

When: Sunday 9th December, 2-4pm

Where: Blue Mountains Food Co-op

How much: $30

Workshop fee includes refreshments, all ingredients and take home samples.

To book click here.

Workshop facilitators

Nick Read – Herbalist and Educator

My personal belief systems have forged my herbal practice into a fusion and synergy of ‘old meets new’. I have a strong interest in combining the traditional and spiritual use of herbs with the more recent evidence based research methods. I thoroughly enjoy educating and empowering people in the practical and functional use of herbs. Medicines and preparations that can be easily sourced and utilised for themselves and their families health and wellbeing. After having my own practice I gravitated towards education, having worked at Flordis as a product educator and then teaching Herbal Medicine Manufacturing and Botany based subjects at a tertiary level. My qualifications include: Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal Medicine, Bachelor of Health Science.

Sonya Byron – Naturopathy student

Sonya is a final year naturopathy student at the Australasian College of Natural Therapies in Sydney. As the owner/operator of an organic farm for several years, she developed a passion for growing and using herbs in her daily life. She strongly believes that herbal medicine is the people’s medicine, and loves to empower people with the knowledge and skills to make their own simple herbal preparations for the benefit of their own and their family’s health and wellbeing.

Wild weeds wrap

A group of 25 enthusiastic foragers joined The Weedy One himself, Mr Diego Bonetto, for a walk on the wild side at the Katoomba Community Gardens on Saturday November 10.

Accompanied by Blue Mountains Food Co-op Manager, Halin Nieuwenhuyse, the eager weed hunters identified a plethora of edible and medicinal plants including the following:

Chickweed> food + medicine Stellaria media

Cleavers> food + medicine Galium_aparine

Dandelion> food + medicine  Taraxacum officinale 

Dock> food Rumex_crispus

Farmer’s friend> food + medicine Bidens_pilosa

Flatweed>  food Hypochaeris spp 

Fleabane> insect repellant Conyza canadensis 

Native geranium> bush medicine https://www.anbg.gov.au/apu/plants/gerasola.html

Plantain> medicine Plantago lanceolata

Purple top> flower Verbena_bonariensisPrickly lettuce> food + medicine Lactuca_serriola

Scotch thistle/perennial thistle> food cirsium-vulgare

Sowthistle> food Sowthistle -Sonchus spp

White clover> food Trifolium_repens

Wild brasssica> food Brassica Spp.

This image shows the edible and medicinal weeds the group found and identified.

For information on Diego’s workshops click here and stay tuned for an autumn 2019 foraging expedition hosted by the Co-op.

Diego’s Resources

A good link for edible plants is Plant for a future

The link to the mapping system we are creating is wildfood.in

The link to the local stories by Aunty Fran is here>https://dharawalstories.com/

Two good books:

 

 

Suggestion box
21st November, 2018

Your say

We value your comments and suggestions. Here are a few recent ideas.

We’ve had quite a few comments coming through the suggestion box recently. From requests for millet flakes and Tulsi tea – we’re looking into these – to support and condemnation for selling meat at the Co-op.

We value all your feedback so please keep it coming in a respectful manner, and if you’d like to email us hello@bmfoodcoop.org.au

10 minutes with Lis Bastian
17th October, 2018

Part of the solution

Environmental activist, teacher and The Big Fix founder, Lis Bastian, is combining permaculture and social enterprise to help mountains youth kick start sustainable careers. Learn more about Lis, solutions journalism and her passion project.

Q: What is The Big Fix and what are its aims?

A: The Big Fix Inc is a not for profit organisation that started in Blackheath in 2007 as a climate action group. We were originally called Blackheath CAN! We’ve grown to become an arts, media and community development service.

Our mission is to “Change the story” – to grow a collaborative solutions-focused culture and we do this via both show and tell. We ‘show’ by establishing projects (like Blackheath Community Farm) and ‘tell’ by supporting storytelling through a range of media services, including The Big Fix magazine, Global Solutions Digests and our template for other communities, Blackheath Local News.

Q: What is your background?

A: Previously I’ve had a range of roles in arts, community development and climate change work. As well as being an Art teacher, Education Officer at the Art Gallery of NSW and Curator of Orange Regional Gallery, I was CEO of Arts OutWest, a Climate Adaptation Officer for 17 Central NSW Councils, CEO of Varuna, Public Programs Manager for the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and Lecturer in Operations & Environmental Management at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School. I also co-founded the Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute with Rowe Morrow.

Q: What are some of the positive outcomes of The Big Fix?

  • Started Blackheath Community Market and ran bulk buys for hazelnut trees and solar panels.
  • Attracted almost $100,000 of funding to Blackheath, which has employed lots of local storytellers, including young people, and helped establish the Community Farm.
  • Strengthened local community via the Community Farm and other projects.
  • Supported activities of other groups by sharing their stories.
  • Received feedback that people read our news first so that they’re not disheartened by mainstream media.
  • Helped switch businesses away from plastic straws and run a Youth Cafe.
  • Trained lots of permaculturists and permaculture teachers.
  • Created a model that can be scaled to other communities.

Q: Can you tell us about your new project to engage youth through permaculture and social enterprise?

Our most recent project is Grounded – a Youth Permaculture and Social Enterprise Project which has been funded by Blue Mountains City Council, Bendigo Bank and Sydney Water.

It emerged from an alliance of local businesses and organisations, including the Co-op, and we’re offering a free Permaculture Design Course for young people aged 16-24. The course will be quite an exciting new version of the internationally recognised PDC because it will include training to help students design land and their own social enterprise. Over the next six months, following the course, they’ll get ongoing mentorship and support to establish a local business or businesses for young people in the Blue Mountains.

Anyone interested in participating in the course can contact Lis on 0407 437 553 or email lis@thebigfix.org

 

 

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