Raw Food Co-ops: Make Buying Less Trying!
Last Updated on Sunday, May 08, 2016 05:56 PM
Published on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 12:58 AM
Written by Lee Ellis
You've taken the plunge and decided to make your own raw cat food. Now you have to figure out where to get the items you want and at an affordable price. How about a raw food co-op? When I started raw feeding back in 2000, I was — and still am — part of an internet group called Dogs Toronto
. Many of the people in the group were raw feeders and also had cats who ate raw food. We lived in different parts of Toronto and beyond, something that was a huge benefit to our co-op because we had different meat sources all over the place.
How did we do it? We limited this to cold weather months since we were dealing with raw meat and didn't want to risk spoilage. We would set up two databases within our group a couple of weeks before meeting up. The first would give the people an idea of who could bring something and what exactly they could bring. It would look like this:
The next database was created so that people could ask for certain things, and others could pick the items up. It looked like this:
The night before, we'd e-mail each other with the amount of money owed to each person, and we'd try to have exact change or close to it.
The practicality of this venture was a bit tricky because the meats would have to be picked up the morning of our rendezvous so as not to thaw. In many instances, one person could have 6 cases of meat parts in boxes weighing 40 or 50 pounds. We would meet somewhere for brunch — the humans have to have fun, too! Afterward we'd head out to the parking lot, open our trunks and start passing meat around. And yes, there have been a few instances where passersby thought we were selling things out of our trunks to the general public who were disappointed to hear we only had frozen rabbits and turkey necks, nothing too exciting!
This worked really well for everyone. I worked near a market that sold a number of items, some of which needed to be ordered in advance. We'd have brunch on Sunday and our cut-off date would be the previous Monday. This gave everyone enough time to put in their request and also gave us enough time to order items that weren't normally carried.
So what about your area? You don't have to re-invent the wheel, so check around first. Our group was part of Yahoo Groups
, which among other things has a lot of different raw feeding groups in all parts of the world. If you can't find one, start one yourself! It's easy and once people find the group you can get the ball rolling. Yahoo Groups has a number of very good tools such as databases, files and links. For the purpose of the co-op, we had a list of places that sold the foods raw feeders look for, especially hard to get items such as rabbits or chicken hearts. Frequently, we would update the list with prices and other changes.
There are a few pitfalls, one being weather. We generally have temperatures around or below the freezing mark from November to March, but on occasion there has been a sunny, mild day. We still had brunch but ate faster and tried to talk less, so we were able to get out of the restaurant without any thawing of meat! The only other issue is dependability of people. If you buy 6 cases of raw meat parts and the person buying doesn't show up, what do you do? We've been lucky because it's never happened, but it's still a possibility. Those are the only things I've worried about.
For our group, it's been a great experience. It's kept costs down significantly. At the same time, it has helped us get items we wouldn't normally have access to. The camaraderie is also a nice thing to have; it's great having other passionate animal lovers as friends. It's always something we look forward to and not just because out pets will be happy!