IT'S MONDAY EVENING and we're at a School in Randwick to collect our first box of vegetables from Sydney Organic Buyers Group Randwick.
We walk into a busy scene. People are taking fruit and vegetables from boxes and counting them into large shopping baskets arrayed across the floor. These are the food boxes that members take home with them each Monday. We don't get to choose what goes into the boxes, it's whatever is in season. Arriving home, we find that it's most of what we would otherwise choose, less mushrooms and one or two other vegetables. We end up with lots of tomatoes, which is good news for those who like a Mediterranean diet.
Qualitywise, the produce is good and, of course, it's organic, delivered to the school by an organic wholesaler.
We had ordered our $30 box of goodies online the previous Friday via the Sydney Organic Buyers website, paying into the organisation's account via credit card. There's a small membership fee to participate in the scheme.
A similar box service is offered by the UNSW's Thoughtful Foods Co-op, also in the Eastern Suburbs. The Coop supplies other foods as well. Soon, community-based food options in the urban east are to expand with the opening of Food Connect Sydney, a community supported agriculture scheme that is set to spread through the metropolis and, when it finds a shopfront premises, by Rhubarb Food Co-op. The choice is becoming overwhelming, and that's probably a good thing.
Could it be that the East is about to take over from the Inner West/inner urban region as the home of community-based food systems in Sydney?
Sydney Organic Buyers Randwick: http://www.organicbuyersgroup.org/Home/branches/randwick
Thoughtful Foods Co-op: thoughtfulfoods.org.au
Food Connect Sydney: http://www.foodconnect.com.au/
Rhubarb Food Co-op: http://twitter.com/Rhubarb_Foods