Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Washington Food Fight"

According to the organization's Web site, the mission of the USDA's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" program is "to create new economic opportunities by better connecting consumers with local producers. It is also the start of a national conversation about the importance of understanding where your food comes from and how it gets to your plate. Today, there is too much distance between the average American and their farmer and we are marshalling resources from across USDA to help create the link between local production and local consumption."

However, the program is garnering some controversy as three U.S. Senators recently complained about it in a letter to the Agriculture Secretary.

To read about the controversy -- deemed a "food fight" by the media -- check out this article: Washington Food Fight Pits Big Producers Against Local Farms.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Important Notice to All Co-Op Members Regarding Pick-up Procedures

Effective immediately, orders not picked up by 8:00 p.m. on pick-up night will be sent back with producers unless alternative pick-up arrangements were made ahead of time.

Here is more detail and the reasoning behind this policy change:

1 - If you do not pre-arrange for a late pickup (contact Jerry at or call the office at 248-2936) and you don't show, your month's order will be returned to the producers.

2 - The producers, because they are taking something back that had already been "sold," lose the sale (this is much more harmful for a producer with a short shelf life than say frozen meat, but potentially significant regardless of product).

3 - This will allow the Co-Op to close its books much more quickly and efficiently (and greatly simplifies the coordination of the back-end... that sounded a lot more interesting than was intended).

Remember, if you can't make it, call us before 7:00pm on pickup night (that's right, 616-248-2936) and we will have a volunteer collect your goods and schedule a time to get your on Thursday or Friday. Sorry, but this really cleans up the workings and the board appreciates your cooperation.


As you are all aware, it has been our practice to hold those orders not picked up (that we were NOT notified about ahead of time) and we would track you down and hope you would honor your commitment in reserving the goods. We always wanted to err on the side of the user (and assure the sale for the producers), but the Co-Op was usually stuck with 2-5 orders per month. We ate the cost because we wanted the cash to go to the producer on the hope that we would get the money down the road. We have now reached a point where we are victims of our own success. Now that we are doing higher numbers, the leftovers that need chasing down have also grown proportionally (last month almost 20, of which all but two were picked up, but at great time/effort). The aftermath of pickup creates more time and effort (that again!) that the actual purchasing cycle and pickup itself.

Thanks for your understanding.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Community Food Forum

The Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council is organizing an upcoming Community Food Forum. Here's what you need to know --

When: May 15 8:45am - Noon.

Where: Heart of West Michigan United Way -- 118 Commerce Ave. SW, downtown Grand Rapids.

Who: Open to anyone who comes.

What: This forum is for people to learn, share and discuss strategies and actions for a better food system.

Details: Key topic areas include healthy food, food accessibility for all, land use and agriculture, local food and economic development, and urban agriculture. More info at

RSVP: Email or call Cynthia Price (231-670-6059) or Tom Cary at (616) 916-9823.