[permaculture] FW: The HelloFoods network: supporting local food producers - new tools available

Harold Waldock haroldw at alternatives.com
Mon Jul 22 00:14:34 EDT 2002


Doing urban or rural permaculture?  Looking for tools (organizing systems
and computer programs) and systems to build your farmer and consumer links?
Wonder what on earth those sleepy hardly seem to be doing much Vancouver
Permaculture Network in (Vancouver BC Canada)  types are up to?  Some of
them have been busy!

Want to see how a to get the some of the same benefits of a CSA but starting
from "consumers" and organizing back to the farmers ( not just one)?  Yes, a
new model has been developed by Cabot Lyford a friend of mine.

-----Original Message-----
From: Cabot Lyford [mailto:cabot at telus.net]
Sent: Saturday, July 20, 2002 11:07 PM
To: Recipient list suppressed
Subject: The HelloFoods network: supporting local food producers


This is a one-time announcement about an initiative which uses the internet
to enable consumers to pool their purchasing power in support of their
favorite (local) farmers.  Please excuse cross postings and PLEASE FORWARD
this to anyone you think might be interested.

First, the short version:

We are a small group of eaters in Vancouver who love organic food and have
developed an online system which makes it easy to organize our food buying
club.  We call ourselves the Hello Foods Buying Club.  We are ready to
invite participation of new members and work to build this idea up into a
network which will provide a significant market for local, certified organic
food.  Our system runs on open source software, which means no licensing
fees need to be paid.  The concept encourages the formation of small
autonomous groups while allowing the possibility of cooperative effort
through a network.

To find out more, including how you can participate, please view our
information pages at:

        www.hellofoods.org/Info/info.htm



Now for the longer, verbose message:


CONSUMER ACTIVISM
We are fortunate enough to live in a place where democratic principles are
enforceable by law. The degree of voter apathy and cynicism, however, might
suggest that many of us do not find our political options empowering or
meaningful.  Political activism is an essential and potent way of protecting
our environment and social values, such as in the current movement to make
corporations more accountable to society, but we seem to need more.  There
is something I am calling "consumer activism" (for lack of a more colourful
expression) where consumers (that's us) vote with our wallets. We can choose
to feed or starve organizations, regimes and alliances in accordance with
our values. To do this, we need two things: information that enables us to
make intelligent choices and a method of procuring what we need from sources
we want to support.

BUYING CLUBS AND CONSUMER COOPERATIVES
Buying clubs and consumer cooperatives have been in existence for a long
time to fulfill the second of these two requirements. A buying club or co-op
can enable its members to locate sources of products and take advantage of
bulk discounts. We pay for those discounts with dedicated work and the
ability to act cooperatively. Many people are capable of this level of
cooperative effort but most of us are also pretty busy  Organizing your own
distribution system for food or other products involves a significant
administrative workload.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CREATES OPPORTUNITIES
Enter, the Internet and the Hello Foods buying club. Located in Vancouver
BC, Hello Foods is one of many buying clubs in North America with an online
presence which gives members a means of organizing our food ordering which
is convenient and low-labour. One or two people can maintain and run the
system, or the job can be easily divided between several individuals. When
food orders arrive at a central member's residence, they are immediately
sorted and members pay for and pick up their food. This is all accomplished
on a volunteer basis.

ORGANIZING
There are many possible ways buying clubs can be organized and run, as well
as many possible goods that can be obtained this way. It is really up to the
imagination and initiative of the members. An online system can make the job
a lot easier by providing the flexibility and facility for organizing a
distribution network.

We need members with creative talents to help pioneer this idea. Jobs
include: writing, researching, data entry, organizing, finding good food
sources, web programming, communication

We could also use a few more members in our original Mount Pleasant group to
beef up our orders. We only order a case of something if there is enough
demand for that item, so the more people we have placing requests, the
better are the chances that everything requested will actually get ordered.

YOU CAN FIND US AT: www.hellofoods.org
Visit our web site to get some idea of what we currently have available and
how easy it is to make your requests.  There is a link to our information
pages and, if you want to join us, there is a link there which you can use.

You can contact me at cabot at telus.net
I will be able to answer some of the technical questions and most of the
other questions. I can also be reached by phone: 604 873-0153

- Cabot Lyford
  (604) 873-0153
  cabot at telus.net




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