Foodshed Alliance Gains Recognition Organizing Buying Clubs

Our client the Foodshed Alliance got some recognition from the New Jersey Herald for organizing buying clubs.  They continue their great work getting more fresh food to New Jersey residents.

Notice the article has no mention of the software.  Of course we would love a plug, but it feels good to be the engine behind the scenes that enables the farm-to-table ideas mentioned in the article where the reality is a few people running large orders at multiple locations.

Our First Client Outside of Maine – Foodshed Alliance

On April 15th, 2011 we will be setting up 2 systems for the Foodshed Alliance located in Blairstown, New Jersey, with hopes to setup more in the future if they are successful in this pilot program.

It was great to connect with a non-profit interested in using this software to ease the process of starting multiple clubs from the start. As they create relationships with local farmers, setup delivery/pickup spots, and learn the process of buying clubs, we think will be an awesome way to make managing things easy so they can focus on the people and the food.

If you live in Northern NJ, definitely check them out and join their buying club today!

Thanks to the Foodshed Alliance for what you are doing, and for choosing

We Are Open for Business-Sign Up Today

After re-starting our orders at the Portland Food Co-op in February, we have now had 6 successful order cycles with approximately 200 people and $10,000 in purchasing of local food. Through this success, we are very proud to announce that we are open for business.

That said, we welcome any and all buying clubs. How do you get started?

  1. Check out our tour, FAQ and features to get a general sense of what you need vs. what we are offering.
  2. Check our our pricing and fill out our form to receive a detailed one-on-one demonstration, which will help inform us  of what you are up to in your buying club as well as figure a time to get back to you.
  3. If the demo convinces you 100%, then we figure out how to get you setup and running.

It’s that simple!  Join us, and we can’t wait to hear from you.

Portland Food Co-op Receives Building Donation

While we have not put to work yet, the idea of ordering food being the seed of community is what this story says to me.  A group that has worked hard and created a community of their own, getting a donation like this from an interested party is a big game changer.

The donation was a building with about 4,700 square feet(we currently use 600 square feet we share with others), rent-free for 5 years, and $40,000 for renovations.  We have to pay the expenses and taxes, and actually do the necessary renovations, but this person has provided the opportunity that we are happy to be a part of.

This, and using software like to run larger orders is where we are headed.  Thank you Donald Sussman, and thank you to everyone who has been a part of growing the Portland Food Co-op.  Here we go!

Read the story:

California Raw Food Buyers Club Illegally Raided by Government

I am sick from learning about this.  No, outraged.
I don’t care what the law says or how technical it gets in how they charge these people, they come in with guns pointed?
To spend time and money going after people because they chose to buy raw milk is not what I call freedom of choice. This isn’t a restaurant or grocery store where we don’t know what we are buying exactly, and we are educated about our food.   Buying clubs are private.  We decide.  We do the work.  We make the relationships. Stay out of it government!
We can make a difference in our community and in our own lives by having this kind of control over something so basic.  I hope this buying club continues on, and reaches out for help from larger entities that have the funds to sue for their loses.

Some Video:

Our First Test – alpha

After a ton of collaboration and planning with the Portland Food Co-op, our own food buying club that is organized as a co-op, we were able to get a working version out.  We knew there would be many questions to answer, but thanks to these kind folks we were able to doing things as few software builders get to do with their users.

Entering the test, the more senior organizers of the group worked with us to review the software and see where the holes are and clarify what this test was about.  We realized that a great deal of functions were needed that we hadn’t completed yet, and that the shopping with splits was really the focus of the test.

It Begins… the Portland Food Co-op

Today marks the beginning of a new venture. And what may be the most exciting venture in my work-life in my career. Writing a new kind of software, and partnering with a friend to do it. Sometimes work and friends don’t mix, but in this case, we rock the dorky-computer-thing. And the beer thing. And the philosophy thing.

After joining up with the Portland Food Co-op to begin organizing a co-op in Portland, Maine, I started buying food with a group of many of the same people who buy food directly from farms and local producers. With no other options in Portland besides ones that are usually too expensive, this was the best way to get my food the way I wanted it at a reasonable price. How does that happen? Buying in bulk and wholesale price, and working with the group to organize an order, delivery, pickup and checkout. This is what a buying club is.

After ordering with these guys for a few months, it became clear that this was begging for an e-commerce solution. A shopping cart. One you have seen a thousand times, but not really. It looked like your basic shopping site, and was as easy for the average person, but this one dealt with “splits”. Like I mentioned above, splits are part of buying a 50# bag of flour, but splitting it between multiple people. So during shopping, we needed to see that I bought 10#, and that 40# was still available.

And so after tons of thinking this out myself and with others in the buying club, and after recently meeting Matt who has the same passion for the idea as I do, we are off and running to build buying club software.

Wish us luck!