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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 increased 8.5% since last year, which was the largest 12-month increase since 1981. 

The BLS reported the price of groceries has gone up 10% overall, including a 13.7% hike for meats, poultry, fish and eggs and 8.5% on fruits and veggies.   

It’s a sure sign that these days spending less takes more thought. The FOX31 Problems Solvers took the guesswork out for you. You can stretch that dollar just a little bit more by using some shopping alternatives.

Shop at local or co-op grocery stores

The Co-Op at 1st is a small locally owned grocery store in west Denver that sells local affordable products with no income requirements.

“We really provide healthy, clean, affordable food to the community at a lower markup,” Domenick Signorino at the Co-Op at 1st said. “People of every monthly income can come here and shop and participate and their money is supporting the 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 membership that costs about $50-$65 each month, if you spend more than $500 a year, you get a dividend back that would likely cover the cost of membership.

The Co-Op also has a wellness program, event space, commissary kitchen, free wi-fi and more.

Invest in a CSA

If you have the means to pay upfront, $500 will allow you to participate in a program like the Fleischer Family Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). 

“Grocery store prices are outrageous. and every time we go there, we’re just thinking it’s going up and up and up,” Paul Fleischer of Fleischer Family Farm said.

“That program is 18 weeks long, and members get to come once a week and pick up a box of between eight to 10 items that are in harvest depending on what’s what time of year it is,” Fleischer said.

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

“If people were to go to a Natural Grocers or any place out there where they’re buying organic foods and buying eight to 10 items per week for 18 weeks, I think they would find that they would spend a lot more than $500 over that course of time. So we hope that we are saving people money as well as providing them with really good nutrient-rich food,” Fleischer said.

The CSA’s are sold out for the year but they recommend also looking into 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. 

Annually, they serve more than 40,000 people through their gardens and programs.

DUG locations are comprised of several separate garden plots that are each cared for by individuals or families.

Community gardeners care for 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 cared for by all community members.