At this years AGM, members voted to increase the monthly minimum cost of a share. Following on from that vote, as of the 1st July, large shares will be £47 a month (up from £42), and small shares will be £25 a month (up from £22).
How does this affect me?
Since we have a pay what you can afford system at COCA, many members are already paying above this rate voluntarily, and those members do not need to increase their subscription. However, if you can raise your contribution in line with the price rise that would be very welcome.
Similarly, if these price increases are going to pose a problem for you, please contact a member of the core group or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about it. We would much rather work something out and come to a compromise than lose a member.
For everyone else, please increase your monthly standing order by the 1st July so that you are, at the least, paying the new minimum rates (£47 large, £25 small).
How does the new price compare?
One of our members, David Hunter, has been keeping track of how the cost of COCA veg compares to organic veg sold by that Goliath of British supermarkets, Tesco. At the new rates, members on a small share will be paying £6.25 a week. Obviously prices fluctuate through the year, but the Tesco average for the equivalent produce works out at around £7. Yep, we’re actually cheaper than Tesco.
It may be only a small saving, but there’s a big difference in ethos. Your money goes straight to COCA, all put back in to growing more organic veg right here in Pembrokeshire. By comparison, Tesco import their veg from around the world, each week’s worth of veg racking up hundreds, if not thousands, of food miles. Plus, very little of the money spent in supermarkets actually makes it back to the producers, causing many farmers to struggle to stay afloat. Not to mention of course, that most of the money spent in Tesco’s goes out of the local economy, whereas the money spent at COCA largely goes back into it.
Of course Tesco isn’t an ideal comparison for those reasons, but even compared to a big organic veg box scheme, like that of Riverford Organic Farms, COCA stills comes out as excellent value for money. Their small share, which is similar to our small share during the hungry gap, is £10.35 a week, quite a big leap up in price, and they are a much much larger operation than ours.
So why did members vote for a price rise?
The ultimate objective of COCA is provide food for its members, and a living for its growers, in a sustainable way. Due to greater general costs, increased production, and a move toward making COCA more self-sustaining and less reliant on the generosity of its members, a small rise in the monthly minimum is a necessary step. Hopefully, this price rise is understandable and seems proportionate to all our members, as well as reflecting our aim as a community to support sustainable local food production.
What about offering a work share?
Great idea! We’re planning to introduce a limited number of work shares soon, where members commit to give some of their time each week helping out with COCA in exchange for a veg share. This time may be spent working on the farm, but likewise also delivering veg to one of our drop off points, or helping out with publicity, or contributing in other ways to the running of COCA. There will be more details on that in the following weeks.