above: Getting back to basics. Coop member Steve Porteous shares his knowledge of medicinal plants at the Coop's Community Garden Party
The DreamCatcher Co-op is a volunteer-run and led co-op based in Te Horo that provides organic food to their members who span from Paraparaumu to Levin. They have been running for 4 and a half years, with volunteers offering their time, energy, and aroha to do everything from coordination, ordering, packing, account management, stocking, building and growing.
Their collective interests are about sourcing affordable organic food as well as supporting local growers and sharing resources as a community.
The coop became a Greener Neighbourhood group to explore ways that they could bring more value to their members and the wider community. After reflecting on their collective goals and interests they have found a tangible way to meet a need in their community while also reducing their carbon footprint - by milling their own grains and flour.
The coop currently buys their flour from Ceres Organics, which brings the flour in from Turkey. Milling their own flour offers a practical way to reduce the group's carbon footprint and increase food resilience and security, while also increasing the nutritional density of this important food staple.
Coop member Jeremiah noted “We have recently seen general public members commenting through groups like the Sunny Ōtaki Facebook Group saying that their children are sick with the bread available at the store, and they would like cheaper, healthy, organic options, but prices are prohibitive. Some of our own co-op members have allergies and some are just trying to offer their families and themselves healthy options. Most of us have never had freshly milled flour, so we are excited to be able to experience the benefits.”
The Coop also participated in the Kāpiti Community Garden Parties earlier in the year, hosting a day of workshops on medicinal weeds, tool sharpening and shared lunch and food swap as well as establishing three garden beds in which some coop members intend to have a go at growing lentils.