Session Descriptions for Part One: How to Start an Online Food Cooperative

Food Hubs and Co-ops: How Local Family Farms Can Feed Our Communities Series
Part One: How to Start an Online Food Cooperative

Session Descriptions

Rebuilding Local Food Systems  Darryl Birkenfeld
For years, Ogallala Commons has worked to support local food systems in a variety of ways– hosting conferences on the topic, working to create Community Internships based on local food production, and providing education workshops and tools for gardeners. In 2011 OC began Project: Local Llano. Local Llano is a blog about all things local food in the Llano Estacado Region. It features nearly 60 stories about local food producers, gardening, recipes, restaurants, Community Supported Agriculture Programs, farmers markets and more. With support from Farm Aid, OC will begin the process of putting together a book about local foods in the Llano Estacado based on the Local Llano Blog.

Untapped Potential: Consumer Demand for Local Foods  Vincent Amanor-Boadu
Coming soon!

Co-op 101: What is a co-op?  Bob Mailander
We all have childhood memories of parents, teachers and others encouraging us to work together. A co-op is what "working together" looks like all grown up. From the outside, many co-ops look like any other business, since a co-op provides products and services like conventional businesses do. But it's what goes on behind the scenes that makes it different.
A cooperative exists to serve its members, but what makes co-ops unique is that the members are also the owners. So, in addition to getting the products and services you need, you also have a say in the business decisions your cooperative makes. Rather than rewarding outside investors with its profits, a co-op returns surplus revenue to its members in proportion to how much they use the co-op. This democratic approach to business results in a powerful economic force that benefits the co-op, its members and the communities it serves.

The Story of the Oklahoma Food Co-op  Kim Barker
In 2003, Oklahoma Food Co-op modeled a unique approach to connect local consumers and producers. Its approach was to bring consumers and producers together as owners of a cooperative. Through the cooperative, they created an online, virtual marketplace where local products could be ordered and distributed. Together, the consumers and producers shared the costs and risks, as well as the benefits, of establishing a new community food system. Since its launch, at least 16 others have started similar operations using the Oklahoma Food Co-op as a model to organize their operations and using the open-source software developed by the Oklahoma Food Co-op to support their operations.

Exploring the Insurance Needs of Direct Marketing Farms  Jeff Downing
As farms grow and expand into new markets, general and product liability coverage may become an issue. The Midwest Regional Agency, provider of KFU member insurance, is interested in developing appropriate insurance products for family farms who market their products directly to consumers and to restaurants, retailers and institutions. Jeff joins us to learn more about our farms and the type of insurance we may need in the years ahead.

High Plains Food Co-op: Creating New Market Opportunities for Small Northwest Kansas Family Farms  Chris Schmidt and Chris Sramek
Coming soon!

Starting an Online Food Coop: Tips from the Trenches  Bob Mailander
Starting a cooperative is a complex project. It begins with discussions within the community about the economic need that will be addressed by the cooperative. Next, the group analyzes the feasibility of the proposed co-op. If the decision is made that the cooperative is feasible, the group moves into implementation and the start-up of operations. In his previous position as Director of the Rocky Mountain Cooperative Development Center, Bob supported the High Plains Food Co-op during its development and implementation.

Curbside Consulting 
Coming soon!


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