Friday, May 3, 2013

Clairemont Produce Cooperative: Free Neighborhood Exchange!

 Yes, we have made it through tax time again and while the economy appears to have improved somewhat, most of us feel uncertain about what is in store for us regarding health care, inflation and the job market. This is one reason the Clairemont Produce Cooperative (CPC), a free community produce exchange, was formed.
“I believe that it’s important for people to feel empowered even in these challenging times and one way this can happen is by focusing on what you can do for yourself instead of focusing on what you cannot control”, says Lisa Raggio, founder of the Clairemont Produce Cooperative. One way to do this is to begin planting and growing some of our own food. Of course, we all have limited space, expertise and resources to work with, so growing a great variety or quantity of produce is no easy feat. Clairemont Produce Cooperative members are interested in becoming more self-reliant through gardening while strengthening community relationships.

Longtime member Sue Garson says, “The Clairemont Produce Cooperative offers a great opportunity for us to mingle with fellow home gardeners and to exchange organic produce. We also get to share tips on gardening. It’s a total win-win!” Nina S. is passionate about being active in the group. “I love trying out produce that I’ve never had before, learning from my neighbors about organic gardening and meeting new people in my community,” she said. Mike B. added, “For me it’s all about the produce. I like sharing my surplus fruits and vegetables and receiving different produce from the neighborhood.” 

The program began in July 2011 and active membership has averaged 20 to 40 residents in Clairemont. Exchanges take place the second Saturday of each month and cost absolutely nothing. Those who have surplus produce and want to participate RSVP a few days in advance. Then, the Thursday prior to the exchange, a notification is sent with the final count. Participants drop off their bag of produce to a central location at 9 am and pick up their free Farmer’s Market-style variety bag by 11 am. 

In addition, Clairemont Produce Cooperative members meet periodically to hear from experts about organic gardening, tour other gardens and socialize at potlucks. These meetings are casual opportunities to connect with and learn from some very talented people in your neighborhood.

If this program interests you, please visit to learn more or email us at .

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