A note from the Oklahoma Food Cooperative’s Board President Bob Waldrop:
Wow, it’s hard to believe another year of Co-op history has come and gone! We’re getting ready for the 2016 Annual Meeting, which will be Saturday, Jan. 30. The Meet, Greet and Eat starts at 10 a.m. and you won’t want to miss that! For those new to the Co-op, many of our Producers will set up tables and offer samples to customers, so be sure to come hungry. At noon, following the Meet, Greet and Eat, our business session will begin. We will be electing new Co-op officers and board members (look for another email soon about those elections), hear reports from our management team – Adam Price (logistics and operations), Justin Hayden (finance), and Chatoya Franklin (marketing), ask questions of the leadership and conduct other business that may be brought before the Co-op’s general assembly.
A great time is always had by all, so y’all come on Saturday, Jan. 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Epiphany Church gymnasium, 7336 W Britton Road in Oklahoma City. Please park in the west parking lot and enter at the Family Life entrance. If you can help with the set up Friday afternoon (Jan. 29), email Adam Price at email@example.com to volunteer.
Now, let’s remind ourselves of the SEVEN ADVANTAGES of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. When we got started, the local food scene was pretty much “just us” and about 20 farmers markets across the state. These days there are many other options, and some of them are more “fake local food” than they are “the real deal.” So it pays to ask questions to make sure you are getting what you think you are buying, and not being fooled by a clever merchandising campaign.
The Oklahoma Food Cooperative offers you —
✔ Variety. The Oklahoma Food Co-op has more producers selling beef than the NYC Greenmarket system – one of the largest farmers markets systems in the United States – and the Ferry Plaza farmers market – one of the large markets in the San Francisco Bay area (to name just two I had time to check). We have waaaay more variety than any other local food choice you can make anywhere in the state of Oklahoma.
✔ Online shopping. I can do my grocery shopping at midnight from the convenience of my home computer. Our online system makes it easy to for you browse products, compare prices and features and make other buying choices.
✔ Know your Producers. I know the Producers of every pound of meat in my freezer. I can pick up the phone and ask questions. I know where they produce. The Co-op has been to their farms and ranches and verified they are doing what they claim to be doing.
✔ Safety. With news of another ground meat recall, I am not sure why anyone wants to take the risk of buying ground meat from a big box store. Research has indicated that any given five pounds of big box store ground meat may have DNA from as many as 100 different animals. Most of these stores buy from giant packing houses, processing thousands of animals, providing many opportunities for cross contamination. Compare that with our small Oklahoma processors, who process one animal at a time. There has never been a recall from a processor inspected by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. That’s safety for you and your family and all your loved ones.
✔ Taste. OK, I know. No one who sells food says “Please come and buy our kind of mediocre tasting food.” Everybody claims great taste, but all we need to do to prove our point is to hand someone a plate of food and a fork.
✔ Health. In 2003, when we started the Oklahoma Food Co-op, my total cholesterol was nearly 300. At my last lab work last year, it was below 200, and that’s without taking any anti-cholesterol drugs. When I cook and need fat, I typically use lard I buy from the Oklahoma Food Co-op. Since 2003, I haven’t bought any ground meat, roasts, steaks or sausage from a big box store. You can eat your way to the hospital or you can eat your way to health. I know what I prefer.
✔ Value. Yes, our prices are not those of the big box stores. Our Producers aren’t selling a bazillion units of anything, but we beat the big box stores hands down when it comes to VALUE. What’s the price of open heart surgery or diabetic amputations when amortized over the price of cheap, crappy food bought in a grocery store? “Not spending money” is another way to “make money” or perhaps that can be better understood as “saving money.” Kind of like invisible “green stamps,” which those of us of a certain age will remember from the 50s and 60s.
But wait – there’s more! An eighth value – sustainability.
Our Producers work hard to be good stewards of their lands and that is a blessing to the entire planet. The Oklahoma Food Cooperative is a visible manifestation of the inter-connectedness we all share. In a time when the energy industry is in a down cycle, it is all the more important for us to do all that we can to support our local economies. Rural and urban Oklahoma rise together – or we fall together. So every dollar spent at the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, where about 78 cents of those dollars go to the Producer (compared with less than a dime at the big box stores), is also an investment in a sustainable local economy that can carry us through whatever the future may bring.
Every grocery dollar we spend is a vote –
✔ a vote for sustainability, health, taste, value, transparency, or
✔ a vote for corporate domination, ecological devastation, risky food and mediocre taste.
Thanks to everyone for your support these past 13 years. With your continued (and hopefully increased) support, we will be able to continue to serve the state for many years to come.
Y’all bon appetit, hear!
Bob Waldrop, President
PS. Don’t take us for granted. Without continued support, we won’t be here in the future.