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GROCERY ALTERNATIVES: Inflation has driven up grocery prices

DENVER (KDVR) — Many Coloradans are feeling that extra pinch when it comes to inflation.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the consumer price index is up 8.5% since last year, the biggest 12-month increase since 1981.

The BLS reported that the price of groceries increased 10% overall, including a 13.7% increase for meats, poultry, fish and eggs and 8.5% for fruits and vegetables.

It’s a sure sign that spending less requires more thought these days. FOX31 problem solvers have taken the guesswork out for you. You can stretch that dollar a little further by using shopping alternatives.

Shop at local or co-op grocery stores

The Co-Op at 1st is a small local grocery store in West Denver that sells affordable local produce with no income requirement.

“We really provide healthy, clean, affordable food to the community at a lower price,” said Domenick Signorino of the Co-Op at 1st. “People of all monthly incomes can come here and shop and participate and their money supports low-income communities and by shopping here your money keeps us going.”

They accept SNAP benefits or food stamps and EBT. Also, they have a monthly subscription which costs around $50-65 per month. If you spend more than $500 per year, you recoup a dividend that would likely cover the cost of membership.

The co-op also offers a wellness program, event space, curator’s kitchen, free Wi-Fi and more.

Invest in a CSA

If you can afford to pay up front, $500 will get you into a program like the Fleischer Family Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

“Grocery prices are exorbitant. and every time we go, we just think it’s going up and up and up,” said Paul Fleischer of Fleischer Family Farm.

“This program lasts 18 weeks, and members can come in once a week and pick up a box of eight to 10 items that are in harvest depending on the time of year,” Fleischer said.

Tomatoes, herbs, root vegetables and more will be grown by them on their land until they are harvested for you.

“If people were to go to a natural grocer or any place where they buy organic food and buy eight to 10 items a week for 18 weeks, I think they would find that they would spend a lot more than $500 over time, so hopefully we’re saving people money while still providing them with really good, nutrient-dense foods,” Fleischer said.

CSAs are full for the year, but they also recommend finding a community garden and growing your own food.

Community gardens

Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) focuses on reducing barriers to fresh, healthy and organic food by providing access to space, knowledge and resources for anyone wishing to grow their own produce.

Each year they serve over 40,000 people through their gardens and programs.

DUG pitches are made up of several separate garden plots that are each maintained by individuals or families.

Community gardeners maintain and harvest from their own plots or growing spaces. Plot sizes vary from garden to garden, but most are 10 feet by 15 feet or around 150 square feet. Shared spaces are maintained by all members of the community.