[permaculture] Oklahoma City local food coop organizer workshop

Robert Waldrop bwaldrop at cox.net
Fri Apr 27 00:17:39 EDT 2007

I hope I am not being a pest about this, but this is the conference season and deadlines are approaching. . . 

How to organize a local food cooperative with the 'Oklahoma Plan'
This is room for more folks at the three day workshop on May 17, 18, 19, 2007 in Oklahoma City on how to organize and operate a local food cooperative internet-based order and delivery system.  At present we have registrations from folks in Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Massachusetts, and Nebraska, but we haven't reached 30 yet, so there remains some room at our inn. Registration closes May 10th (when our May order closes, and we have to turn in the food order).

Topics to be covered include organizing campaigns, producer issues, financial accounting, computer systems, customer and volunteer issues.  The event will be held in conjunction with the May delivery day of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, and attendees will participate in all aspects of that activity.

There will be plenty of bon apetitin'. Meals and breaks will feature enchilada suizas, tamales, buffalo pot roast, delicious pies and cakes and cookies and sweet breads, cheesecake, yogurt, biscuits and gravy, bacon, farm fresh eggs, pizza pockets, breakfast pockets, roasted peanuts, sandwich meats, summer sausages (beef, lamb, buffalo, and pork, also hot links and polish sausages) and spring produce, chili con queso, cheese, pretzals, green chili stew, pork chops and probably also some lamb chops, fair trade/certified organic locally roasted and blended teas and coffees. . . nearly everything will be locally sourced and much of it will be all natural or organic.  If you go home hungry, it won't be our fault.

Cost of the 3 day workshop is $150, which includes all meals and breaks and social events, but does not include your transportation to and from Oklahoma City or your hotel cost.  

Attendance will be limited to 30 people. To secure your reservation, payment must be received in full.  

Workshop sessions will be held at Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church located at 7336 W. Britton Road in Oklahoma City.  

The closest motel is the Courtesy Inn at 6600 NW Expressway, 405-722-8694.  The next closest motel is the Executive Inn, 6410 NW Expressway, 405-728-9913.  We can provide transportation to Epiphany Church from these hotels, or others further east on Northwest Expressway, and perhaps from other areas (check with Bob Waldrop on this).  We will also work on coordinating transportation to the airport on the final day of the workshop.

To register for the conference, send your name and full contact info including email to:  Oklahoma Food Cooperative, 1524 NW 21, OKC, OK 73106.  Or send this info in an email to prez at oklahomafood.coop and either mail your check or pay with your credit card or electronic check via Paypal (send money to paypal at oklahomafood.coop and put in the comments field that it is for the 'Oklahoma Plan Conference').

Below is the tentative schedule.  Presenters will be active customers, officers, board members, and producers of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative.  Emma McCauley, of Red Earth Design, our software developer, will give a presentation at the conference about our Local Food Cooperative Management System software.

More info will be available as the planning progresses at http://www.oklahomafood.coop/2007workshop.php . Hope to see you in Oklahoma City!

Bob Waldrop, president and general manager
Oklahoma Food Cooperative
prez at oklahomafood.coop

About the Oklahoma Food Cooperative:
Organized in 2003, the Oklahoma Food Cooperative operates an innovative internet-based order and delivery system that only sells Oklahoma grown or made foods and non-food products.  The cooperative has both customer and producer members.  

The cooperative does not buy wholesale and sell retail. Members order items from specific producers, so each producer in effect is his or her "brand" in the coop product lineup. The producer members set their own prices, and the cooperative charges them a commission for selling through the cooperative.  Customer members pay a commission for buying through the cooperative. The cooperative operates this delivery cycle once each month.  

Monthly gross revenues for 2007 are presently ranging from $27,000 to $36,000, and the coop has 1,100 members. In April, we grossed $36,500 (this involved 6500+ items, 383 orders, 17 pickup sites).  Each year for the last 3 years, coop sales have increased by more than 100%.  If this trend continues this year (and so far it has), by December the coop will be doing $65-75,000/month. The coop has been completely self-financed since it was organized via the sale of member shares and operating revenues.


May 16, Wednesday: 
folks arrive, evening social event, "meet, greet, and eat".

May 17, Thursday
8 AM: delivery day begins (breakfast and lunch at delivery day site)
6:30 PM, dinner, followed by opening remarks by Bob Waldrop ("The Cooperative Moment"), and social time.  The presentation and social following will be open to coop members.

May 18th, Friday 
8 AM, breakfast
9 AM: Session 1 - Getting started: the organizing campaign
10:30 - break
11 AM- Session 2 - What's for sale?  Producer issues
12:30 - lunch
1:30 - Session 3 - The Amazing Portable Oklahoma Food Cooperative: Delivery Day
3 PM - break
3:30 PM - Session 4 -- How much does this cost? Financials
Saturday, May 19
8 AM - breakfast
8:45 AM - Session 5 - Internet Commerce and Local Foods: Computer Systems
10:15 - break
10:45 - Session 6, What's the market? Customer and Volunteer Issues
12:15 - lunch and closing remarks.

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