[permaculture] Re: Alternative Food System Description

Kathy Carter-White kathycarterwhite at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 24 01:33:52 EST 2003

(Hi Paul... I will take the liberty of passing along your name to Bill 
Dellinger. )

In Oklahoma we have started www.oklahomafood.org , a cooperative which 
is innovative.  We have both consumer members and producer members.  A 
few  folks in Missouri  might be interested in doing something like that 
up your way.  Springfield to Columbia seems like a logical 
transportation route.

Take a look at our website at www.oklahomafood.org, which was started by 
Robert Waldrop.

In sum, at Oklahoma Food we have a 1-week window during which consumers 
(and producers too) can order from the current list of all available 
products.  It is about 17 pages long, and features, now that it is 
winter, mostly meats and not a lot of veggies... but as the seasons 
change, so will the product offerings.  Orders go to a central 
bookeeping system and producers are notified about what has sold.  
Producers have a week to get it all together... and this sometimes 
involves butchering, so it is rather a short turnaround.  A week after 
the order deadline, producers bring their goods to a central "order 
picking" site... in this instance, a church which is very supportive... 
and each customer's groceries order is bagged up.  The producers 
backhaul to consumers along their way home... sometimes meeting 
consumers who then deliver to the more outlying areas' members (or have 
their own meetup spot).  The consumers pay online or mail a check, and 
the producers are paid from the central in and out account for the 
orders.  The producers know each other, and call each other to pool the 
ride of goods to Oklahoma City.  The consumers know each other and pool 
on picking up their orders.  It is like a virtual grocery store... but 
no profit margin (as yet...we are contemplating a small percentage 
surcharge so we can pay some of the volunteers via order credits, like 
work equity, who do a large proportion of  the work.  It is kind of a 
neat model because it gives producers a winter market when Farmers' 
Markets are closed.  Also, Consumers can get lots of info on production 
methods (de facto organic, grass pastured, hormone free, etc.)  And it 
is a better price than commodity stream pricing for the farmer, but not 
too high for the consumer for identity-preserved food.   Maybe one day 
we'll have the volume to need a brick and mortar store, but last week we 
sold over $4,000 in groceries, and the month before we sold about 
$3,000... for about 19 producers.

I'm cc'ing Bill so he can pass your name along to Farm Crisis, which is 
being informed about this idea and may want to go forward with this 
idea.  In Oklahoma, we did it with grassroots folks sort of out of the 
blue, and if you really like the idea, you could too.  We have tended 
to  court the sustainable and responsible farmers, and encouraged and 
supported those who are transitioning to sustainable.  We've limited it 
to  Made in Oklahoma, in order to benefit smaller farms, and to insure 
that transportation complexities do not make it vulnerable to thinks 
like fuel price fluctuations.  Food security is one of our principles, 
so we hope to dot the landscape with these "living machine" pulse points 
that can serve a smaller area (albeit with more limited product choices) 
should there ever be a need to decrease dependence upon fossil-fuel 
transportation, vertical product markets, and the like.

I'll also cc interested others with this more in-depth explanation, 
since others may be interested also.
line items for outright donation and for purchase of goods where the 
proceeds go to the hungry.

Kathy Carter-White
Tahlequah, OK  USA

pcwick at gmx.net wrote:

>I saw the following on the permaculture list:
>Are there any MO permaculture folks on this list who would be interested 
>in an innovative farm-direct "buying Club" type of relationship between 
>farmers and consumers?  If so, please send me a private message and I'll 
>put you in touch with someone else who wants to do that.  Kathy
>I'm in Springfield, MO and may be interested.  What are you proposing?

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