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Go Green : With Gaelic Dreams
Floral & Imports, Hopkinsville Kentucky USA

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Natural Food Co-op

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Gaelic Dreams Natural Foods Co-Op

What are our goals and purposes of the Gaelic Dreams Natural & Organic Food Co-Op program?

to coordinate our food buying so as to be able to get the best food at the best prices
to create a community of people with shared values
to experience the pleasures and challenges of working together cooperatively
to participate in the world-wide cooperative movement by working together cooperatively and educating ourselves and others about cooperatives
to promote organic agriculture and environmentally responsible technology and products by informed buying
to educate others in our community about cooperatives, organic agriculture, and environmentally responsible consumerism.
to educate ourselves by sharing our skills and knowledge with each other
to strengthen our sense of community by organizing other activities such as: potluck dinners, field trips, community service projects

How do we accomplish our goals and purposes?

by respecting the policies and procedures of our co-op
by respecting the work each individual does for the co-op
by creating committees to work on special projects (potluck & social events, community service projects, etc.)
by charging ourselves a small surcharge on orders and using our combined financial strength to support the coop.
by publishing a newsletter with educational articles
by actively sharing our skills with each other ; by having experienced people train and work new members; by having more than one person know how to do each co-op job
by making connections with other co-ops in our area (or in other countries!)

Who is eligible for membership?

anyone who agrees to fulfill and maintain the responsibilities of membership.

What are the responsibilities of membership?

pay a membership fee or dues (to support the expenses of the co-op, see below)
attend meetings ( currently meeting are held each calender quarter )
contribute to the work of the co-op by performing a particular job or,
contribute to the work of the co-op by working a set number of hours
serve on a committee
educate new members
support the stated goals and principles of the co-op
submit food orders and payments on or before the deadline
pick up orders on time
support positive means for resolving conflict
see also job assignments and responsibilities below

Is there a membership fee or dues?

Yes. Members pay a one-time membership fee of $45.00 per individuals or $75.00 per family unit and a co-op sur-charge fee of  5%  per order to help offset co-op opperating expenses and to give the co-op operating cash. The membership fee is returned ( by check within 90 days ) when the member leaves the co-op.
Members are also required to pay any additional state sales taxes as may be required by law. Currently most essential food items in Kentucky are non taxable.
Members are required to maintain a monthly minimum purchase to be determined by the total number of current or active members and the vendors minimum order requirements.
Members in turn receive discounts on the suggested retail price of each item. These discounts vary with product selection and supplier. Any discounts or sales prices offered by the supplier to the co-op are passed onto the member(s) provided the minmum order requirements can be met.

Is there a limit to the number of members this co-op can have?

No, membership is open to anyone who fulfills the responsibilities of membership. When the membership reaches certain stages (for example: 10 families, 20 families, 30 families) we will re-evaluate the distribution of jobs and the open membership policy to be sure the increased membership does not adversely effect the operation of the co-op.

Does the co-op offer a leave of absence status?

No! experience has shown us that it gets too complicated

Is there any reason we might ask a member to leave the co-op?

repeatedly not doing their job; bouncing checks; late orders or payments
non-cooperative behavior
actions that threaten the safety of other members or the co-op itsself

Who has the responsibility/authority of asking a member to leave the co-op for the reasons listed above?

the coordinator
the membership committee

How are jobs assigned?

The coordinator finds people to fill all the jobs; if someone needs or wants to change their job, the coordinator works it out. If the coordinator wants to change jobs, we have a meeting of everyone to choose a new coordinator.
The jobs coordinator assigns jobs to new members based on the needs of the co-op.
New members must be able to fill a job that needs to be filled.
Once a year we meet to rotate jobs.
We try to have more than one person trained to do certain jobs (like the computer work) that require special skills. We share our skills with each other.

Jobs List

Many skills are needed to keep a co-op running. We try to have members trained in more than one job, and have each job filled by more than one person, so that we can cope with sickness and emergencies without difficulty. Itís also more fun to share a job, and work together. Experiencing a variety of jobs helps members understand how all the jobs fit together.

Co-op jobs can give you the opportunity to learn new skills and stretch yourself in new directions (buying produce, computer skills, writing skills, organizational skills, taking on leadership roles).

Balancing the needs of the co-op and the needs of the individual members is always tricky, but through group effort and co-operation the job gets done and all members benefit.

Job Assignments and Requirements

Coordinator or Coordinators: primary responsibility is co-op communication; primary contact person for your supplier; general troubleshooting

Membership/Jobs Coordinator: keeps membership requirements and information up-to-date, makes sure jobs are filled, keeps track of job participation, assigns jobs to new members
New Member Contact: orients new members, trains new members in co-op jobs, checks in on new members for a couple months to make sure everythingís working

Collator: uses computer to collate members orders into one order for the warehouse

Bookkeeper: collects payments, issues credits, handles the co-op checking account

Treasurer: works with the bookkeeper on co-op finances

Distribution Coordinator: organizer and troubleshooter at distribution

Distribution Team: distributes product into individual member orders

Pre-Invoicer: tracks down and solves all problems left over from distribution; calls in credits

Newsletter Producer: writes, publishes and mails co-op newsletter to members; collects articles and information from members for the newsletter; keeps track of printing and mailing expenses; maintains the mailing list

Case Sharing Coordinator: creates a special order sheet for case sharing for each delivery

Order Meeting Facilitator: establishes agenda, keeps discussions on track, chooses person to take notes.

Outreach & Publicity: encourages public interest; helps coordinators contact members when needed; maintains the phone tree

Some members may be asked to fil two or more roles until such time as there are enough active members.

Can members include in their order items for people who are not members?

No, since more items ordered mean more work that has to be done, itís only fair that people who are not members should not order through the co-op. Subscribers who abuse the "Members Only Ordering Policy" and privilage may be terminated at the boards discretion without prior notice.

What does the co-op do with problems such as late orders, late payments, bounced checks, etc.

Members can try to submit late orders, but the collator can say no.
Members can try to submit late orders with a $5 late order fee, but the collator can say no.
No orders are accepted after the deadline.
No orders are accepted without payments.
If you bounce a check, you have to pay cash from then on.
members may pay for purchases with a credit card but will be biled a 5% surcharge

Does everyone need to have a subscription to the price list?

Itís up to each member to make their own arrangements some suppliers may require a subscription fee to receive the current price lists.

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