We’re all committed to nurturing our families with love and, of course, along with that comes a desire to feed them with farm-fresh nutritious, delicious fruit, vegetables and proteins (but in today’s fast-moving world, ‘farm-fresh’ is hard to come by).
To source the freshest foods for her family, Sydney local Kathy Widjaja joined a local food co-op in 2011. When the head of her co-op took a 12-month sabbatical, Kathy was appointed to the role. She quickly saw an opportunity to transform it into a business that would provide all the benefits of co-op buying to a much broader group of people. Now she’s operating co-ops that service about 50 Sydney suburbs and has just expanded to serve the communities around Bondi.
Traditionally, co-ops involve rotating members making a trip to the wholesale markets, then sorting out the purchases,” Kathy explained. “This can be time-consuming, and if there are a limited number of families in the co-op, product choice is limited.
“So, I decided to address both the issues of time and choice by creating Minifarms.”
Minifarms is essentially an Online Farmer’s Market. It is comprised of ‘Community Pods’ run by paid ‘Pod Leaders’. Weekly ordering is via the Minifarms App, which makes a huge difference; Members place their orders and the orders for that Pod are delivered in bulk to the Pod Leader’s space a few days later. The Leaders then sort the products purchased from the local producers and suppliers, ready for collection by the Members who pick up their grocery shop only minutes from home – Minifarms has disrupted the industry.
And it’s not only fruit and vegetables. “Our members can now order artisan breads, coffees, meats and pantry goods from the simplest spices to exotic ready-made meals. Wherever possible, those items are sourced from within their Pod’s local community, so for instance, we’ll find honey harvested from beehives or coffee beans roasted in the local area.”
“Because we source locally, our goods travel small distances. Our suppliers also deliver on the same day as pick up, which means that most of our food never needs to be stored, ultimately meaning that our carbon footprint is much lower than products purchased from supermarkets or shopping centres.”
“Additionally, because we buy in bulk from local producers, we can negotiate and pass on great pricing. And finally, buying in bulk means our produce usually comes without packaging – another saving, this time for the environment.”
By modernising the traditional concept of a co-op, Kathy’s sustainable
Online Farmer’s Market is ready to evolve as more families realise the many benefits.
“It’s so rewarding to support local producers while at the same time creating communities who can access the healthiest, most enjoyable foods with ease and at a great price.”