by Casey Morell
Still looking for a last-minute Christmas gift for that difficult-to-buy-for foodie in your life? Well, look no further: Orlando's own Homegrown Co-op is looking to expand — and it needs your help.
The group is in the midst of a membership drive to expand its reach and to improve "access to local food," according to a press release we received. The co-op wants to bring in 300 new members this month to raise money for the creation of a mobile market (meals on wheels!) and a new storefront at its Orange Avenue HQ. Right now, the co-op is two-thirds of the way there, but Homegrown board member Emily Ruff tells us that "We need both the member participation and the capital revenue from the campaign to provide critical infrastructure for our store operations, such as coolers and additional ongoing operational revenue from the goods those coolers would hold, like dairy, that we can't provide now."
She adds that the co-op wants to be open seven days a week; it's currently operating on a five-day schedule. If the goal isn't met, she says, "board and members will evaluate if and how to continue our Orange Avenue farm store." The twice-weekly online market, though, will remain open for the time being no matter what.
"Basically, we know we'll have the resources to keep the storefront open in its current form if we meet the goal, but if we don't, [closing] would be one of several options the board and member-owners would review to ensure our organization was financially sustainable," Ruff says. "At this point, being so close to our goal, we certainly do not wish for that to be the case!"
Homegrown offers all sorts of organic fruits, veggies, dairy, eggs and other assorted goods that will make any food connoisseur swoon. You can pick up a year-long membership for $45 — which, let's face it, is less than you spend at Starbucks each year — or a lifetime membership for $200. Plus, you're buying local. Homegrown is also accepting donations and new volunteers, so have at it!