The main thing is to make sure peo­ple are en­joy­ing their work.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature -

1 There is no ‘I’ in team­work

While Robyn ac­knowl­edges she is the back­stop be­hind the co-op, stand­ing in for any­one who can’t make it at the last minute, she is quick to point out that the co-op works be­cause mem­bers bring to it their own spe­cific skills and no one is ‘power hun­gry’.

“The main thing is to make sure peo­ple are en­joy­ing their work. We have one helper who likes or­gan­is­ing shelves, another who is con­fi­dent serv­ing, and we em­ploy a per­son for two hours a week to han­dle bill pay­ing. It’s be­cause of peo­ple like this that we can keep the co-op open seven days a week for 42 hours.”

2 One size doesn’t fit all

Tai­lor your or­ganic food sup­ply to suit the size of your com­mu­nity. Not ev­ery place needs a food co-op. All that may be re­quired in your area is a tele­phone­tree-op­er­ated food-shar­ing club or the delivery of ran­domised or­ganic produce boxes on a weekly ba­sis. Look at mod­els that have worked in sim­i­lar com­mu­ni­ties. 3 Duty rosters are a ba­sic When divvy­ing up du­ties, make sure no one per­son is landed with the bulk of the work or the or­gan­i­sa­tion will soon col­lapse. Have back-up helpers who are avail­able to take on jobs at short no­tice when another worker can­not make it to work.

4The per­fect premises

If you re­quire premises, you may need to ne­go­ti­ate the use of a garage or sim­i­lar build­ing for food dis­tri­bu­tion. If your or­gan­i­sa­tion needs to move into a more ‘re­tail’ part of town, give se­ri­ous thought to ‘shop-shar­ing’. Ap­proach the likes of a trades­per­son who is us­ing only a small por­tion of a build­ing to store parts and equip­ment and who is prob­a­bly able to open for only a few hours each week. Of­fer to keep the premises open for more hours in re­turn for a re­duced or nil-rental on space for a co-op to op­er­ate.

5 Be dis­cern­ing

If the aim is to sup­ply lo­cally-grown or­ganic veg­eta­bles, you can’t al­ways in­sist on produce be­ing of­fi­cially ‘cer­ti­fied or­ganic’ so learn to be dis­cern­ing. Get to know your sup­pli­ers on a per­sonal level and if you find they are car­ing for their soil (grow­ing

or­gan­i­cally) and their plants are healthy, ac­cept their goods and la­bel them ‘lo­cally-grown home-or­ganic’.

6 Let your buy­ers/food shar­ers be the judge

If some­one no­tices a prod­uct you’re buy­ing con­tains an in­gre­di­ent that’s not ac­cept­able (palm oil, for ex­am­ple) or points out a prod­uct is be­ing pro­duced by marginalised labour, cease stock­ing it.

7Lo­cally sourced

Sell lo­cally sourced goods wher­ever pos­si­ble and recog­nise that this op­por­tu­nity may change sea­son­ally. Cur­rently, the River­ton co-op sources lamb and beef from an or­ganic grower in nearby Black­mount, and gets its or­ganic pork from River­ton. De­pend­ing on the sea­son, 25% of the veg­eta­bles stocked are grown in South­land, but the co-op would like to see this in­crease to 100%. One lo­cal sup­plier makes enough from her vege sales to pay for her fam­ily’s fruit pur­chases from the co-op.

8Pre­dict and pre­pare

Make a plan for ‘loss shar­ing’. When deal­ing with fresh produce, there will al­ways be some waste. The River­ton Or­ganic Food Coop cur­rently splits the loss 50-50 be­tween sup­pli­ers, the co-op pay­ing the sup­plier 50% of the value of the produce that is un­sold.

9Pric­ing plans

Think about how you will price your produce. The River­ton Or­ganic Food Co-op asks sup­pli­ers to name their own price for fresh produce they are sell­ing to the shop. Of this price, the co-op takes 10% for han­dling and ad­min­is­tra­tion and the government take 15%. Ac­cept that prices for many goods will be higher when you live in more re­mote emote ar­eas be­cause of the cost of freight.

In­stead of hand-writ­ten records, Karla Evans man­ages the ac­counts by com­puter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.