By Erin Otto
Tracking down affordable nutrient dense foods for our homeschooling family of seven has been a pursuit of ours for a long time. As newlyweds, my husband Tim and I came to the realization that if we had a large pantry and a decent sized freezer to store it in, we could buy our food for much, much less than grocery store prices, AND it could be organic. That is IF we bought in bulk. And so our foray into the world of food co-ops began.
We rounded up a few penny-pinching friends to join in and help spread the word and put together our first co-op order in 1998. Everyone was appreciative, we were thrilled, and we met some great people in the process.
So we did it again and again, first in Wisconsin, and starting in 2008, in Tennessee where we have lived until now.
Now, our co-op includes most of the state of Tennessee, and even parts of the surrounding states. We offer natural and organic fresh fruits in season, whole grains, and a large assortment of basic pantry items that we bring in and distribute by semi truck loads at a time. Anyone can get in on the orders by pre-ordering before the deadline, and there is no minimum. Sign up for our emails to get involved!
Who We Are
We are a homeschooling family of 7, raising our children in a family business atmosphere. Our kids do school work most days, but they also have active roles in Bulk Natural Foods. We want them to grow up bearing real life responsibilities, dealing with real issues, and learning to make important decisions wisely, and we feel that being involved in business is one of the best ways to accomplish this goal.
The Rest of BNF
Bulk Natural Foods is also supported by countless hosts who receive and distribute the products you order. We appreciate you all! Thanks for being a part of what we do!
How We Eat
This whole co-op developed into what it is now out of a need in our own community – a need for the kinds of natural foods our family was trying to eat. So perhaps knowing the kinds of things we eat as a family will give you a clue about what you can expect to find in our co-op. (However, at the time of this update in February of 2013, we do not have the ability to deliver highly perishable or frozen items such as meat and dairy products, so these items are not yet available. We do have a local food page where you can find a list of farms that do offer these things.)
Since 2002, we have been following a Weston A. Price diet of real, whole, traditional foods: soaked and sour-leavened grains, plenty of good quality butter and ghee, local milk, cod liver oil, organic and minimally sprayed fruits and vegetables, pastured eggs and meats, natural sweeteners, and homemade fermented foods and bone stocks. As a mom, I couldn’t be happier with the results. Our children’s teeth are 90% straighter than Tim’s or mine, their palates are wider, and we have had only one cavity among the five of them – and that, in a baby tooth. All of us are healthy, and we are not plagued with food allergies and sensitivities. I’m thankful to have learned about traditional foods when our kids were still young!
How To Join In
The best way to get involved with Bulk Natural Foods is to sign up on our email list so we can keep you informed about the orders that are taking place. The more people who get involved with what we are doing, the more locations we are able to serve, the better deals we are able to obtain, and the wider the variety of products we are able to offer.
If You Are Outside of Our Local Delivery Area
If you live too far away from Tennessee to participate in our local co-op, you can still order through our store and have products delivered directly to your door.
However you decide to join in, we welcome you to Bulk Natural Foods!
The Tim & Erin Otto Family