Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Doors open!

Hey! You! Not a member yet because you haven't got an invite?

Well now you don't need one. That's right, the doors are open, and everyone's invited! Just click the "New User?" link on the front page of, and get started!

Bonus: prices are now listed between cycles. Previously, this information was hidden as the producers may be changing that information between cycles. Now, however, there are disclaimers (everywhere!) declaring that the prices are subject to change until the order cycle opens. Once the cycle opens, prices are locked, until the next cycle begins.

Shop away, happy Co-Operators!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Aren't you glad...

... you shop at the coop?

Today I read another article regarding the biggest beef recall in history, which I blogged about previously. Fortunately, it seems that the government is taking swift action to review and tighten the regulations on factory farming. I know that the revelation of what goes on inside a factory farm, thanks to the Humane Society of the United States undercover investigation, is not an isolated event, and I can only hope for a positive outcome of all this.

We should all consider ourselves fortunate to be in West Michigan, where we can buy local meat, cheese, and eggs from humane family-run farms. So what if it costs a little more than what you could get at the grocery store? As the Humane Society asks "What's the cost of our appetite for cheap meat? If the answer is cruelty and unsafe food, it may be too much to stomach."

While I will always advocate a vegetarian lifestyle, I also believe strongly that if you eat meat, you must know where it comes from and how the animal was treated. With that in mind, the Coop will be announcing our Summer 2008 Farm Tour series shortly, where you can continue to learn about life on a real farm, tour the farm, and connect with your farmers. In the meantime, keep shopping, and stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A few new features...

Hi, everyone!

I've been introducing a few new features over the past few weeks, and I thought I'd take a moment to highlight what we're doing to try to make your shopping experience on the Co-op a nicer one.

First, there is now a "New" and "Changed" product section. When we add new producers, or when new products get added by existing producers, they will be highlighted here each month. Check them out - we might be carrying what you were looking for last month! The Changed section highlights products that have been changed - description, name, or price. So check those out too! The New and Changed sections are available from the Front Page, as well as from your menu when you log in.

Second, product information is now available at any time during the month. Though we don't publish prices in between ordering periods, we do now make the extended description and producer information available at any time. Now, you can "pre"-shop in your spare time between cycles, and new members can see what will be available when the ordering starts up. You can also add items you want into your favorites, so that come ordering time, you surf to your fav's and start loading up your basket!

Finally, and the biggie, is product pictures. Producers: this one's for you! It's now possible to add pictures of your products for all to see. You do need a account - that's where our pictures are hosted. This significantly reduces the storage and bandwidth requirements for the Co-op server, keeping our upkeep and maintenance, in a word, sustainable. You can get all the gory details on the wiki, and you can see an example here.

If you have a great idea for a feature you'd like to see on the site, don't hesitate to write me -

Thanks all!