It never ceases to amaze me. How do they manage to pull this off month after month?
The Oklahoma Food Cooperative is truly a thing of beauty. Its an all volunteer organization (well, they may have one part-time paid employee now, I’m not really sure to be honest with you). It was the brain child of Robert Waldrop, a permaculture/local foods guru. Don’t you just hate that word? Let’s say “local foods expert.” The co-op is an on-line ordering system where members have the opportunity to select from fresh food, health and beauty items, live plants, jewelry, music CDs, and on and on – grown and made by Oklahoma farmers and producers. The order cycle opens the 1st of every month and closes the 2nd Thursday. Producers then have one week to put the orders together and on the 3rd Thursday, every producer in the state – and this is a STATE WIDE organization – brings their packaged and labeled orders to a central distribution center in Oklahoma City. A mass of volunteers take in the orders, segregate them by pickup sites and by 3 p.m., the products are out the door. They arrive at individual pickup sites around the state where they are sorted by yet more volunteers. Members arrive around 5 p.m. and pick up and pay for their orders. By 7:00 p.m., the locally grown food, locally produced soaps, handmade brooms (of which I have been the lucky recipient), bedding plants, reusable tote bags, and on and on – have all gone to happy homes. All this is accomplished in one very hectic but extremely organized day.
The commitment of the volunteers is astounding. They believe so completely in the value of a local economy, sustainable agriculture and the concept of bringing farmers, producers and consumers together that they make the necessary personal sacrifices of time and money month after month. So I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Bob Waldrop and his team of committed visionaries. Here are a few links for more info.
Keep it simple.