An email from Daily Market Cooperative’s Board of Directors, in its entirety:
Daily Market Cooperative
2012 Member-Owner Meeting Invitation and Board Report
“Daily Market Cooperative is a member-owned co-op that increases the Walla Walla Valley’s access to local, healthy, and sustainable products. The cooperative promotes nutritional awareness, educates consumers, and strengthens the local economy and relationships in our community.” If we are to use our Vision Statement as a measure of our success this past year, Daily Market Cooperative (DMC) has performed exceedingly well, grossing nearly $70,000 in sales from the Made in Walla Walla Box (MWWB ) program. This number translates into dozens of families accessing hundreds of shares of local produce, grains, milk, eggs, bread, meat and flowers from:
Welcome Table Farm, United League of Vegetation, R&R Produce, Aichele Farms, Walla Walla Bread Co, Blue Valley Meats, Pure Eire Dairy, Richartz Kids, Chicken Chore Treasures, Edwards Family Farm, Davis Orchards, Frog Hollow Farm, Walla Walla Gardeners Association, Locati Brothers, Blue Mountain Seed, R& S Ranch, Joel’s Organic Produce, Fehrenbacher Farm, Fresh Milled Flour, Williams Farm, Melissa Davis Chef, L & B Farm, Ideal Organics, Just Right Granola, Lentz Spelt Farms, Schreiber and Sons, Le Fore, Booth’s Brine Co, and more.
And in economic terms, taking into consideration the local multiplier effect, DMC has generated an additional $30,000 for Walla Walla businesses, for a grand total close to $100,000 in a single year!
This past year has been an odd combination of financial success and organizational invisibility for Daily Market Cooperative. For those of you who are familiar with the Co-op’s history, you know that it has been characterized by a number of stops and starts, and many of you have voiced your concerns that because of this, the Co-op has lost much of its credibility, and a fair deal of this community’s good will.
As an almost completely new Board of Directors, under new leadership, we have spent the better part of our year coming to terms with the Co-op’s past, and deliberating our future course of action, taking a hard look at the human capital we have to work with. We have determined we do not have the capacity to pursue a storefront at this point in time. And so we came to a decision point: either we spend all of our time and energy capacity-building, and accepting that a storefront will still be years away; or we change course, re-define what it is we do as an organization, and funnel the net profits we receive from the Made in Walla Walla program back into our community, by increasing:
OUR SUPPLY. Last Fall, MWWB customers maxed out our vegetable and salad greens suppliers in the valley, because there were only two hoop houses in production between West End and Welcome Table Farm. DMC would like to re-invest in small farmer development to increase the valley’s access to local produce year-round.
OUR DEMAND. School Gardens and Farm to School Programs expose our kids – and by extension their families – to foods that are non-processed, nutrient-rich, pesticide-and-additive-free, and easy to grow in their own backyards. DMC would like to support community-based projects whose visions and missions align with our own. The joy a child derives from munching arugula in a school garden = priceless.
AWARENESS. DMC would like to pursue creative marketing strategies like buying the defunct pedicabs and refurbishing them as people-powered produce trucks (complete with catchy jingle to draw kids and adults alike), and/or using these “trucks” to deliver weekly Made in Walla Walla Boxes to customers.
The Board of Directors has chosen this latter scenario. To that end, we will:
be having an inventory liquidation sale this Saturday (9/8/12) from 9-2 @ 521 E. Rose Street. All items will be 50% off retail prices. Bring your empty bottles for bulk lotions, soaps, etc…
offer refunds of initial Member-Owner capital investments upon request, in acknowledgement that these donations were made with a future storefront in mind.
Consider bringing DMC back to its roots by offering a monthly buying club, where members and non-members alike would have access to wholesale plus 5-10% mark-up to cover operating expenses (slightly higher for non-members), depending upon customer feedback on our survey.
Consider re-branding and re-naming our organization.
Continue to expand and improve the Made in Walla Walla Box program. Sign up for the Fall Session on-line. And, Watch our website for information on this year’s Thanksgiving Made in Walla Walla Box featuring all your Thanksgiving meal needs from local farmers and meal recipes and tips to make this Thanksgiving meal the best ever!
Continue to seek ways to increase the impact DMC can make in our community and economy, staying true to our Vision Statement.
Hold our Annual Member-Owner Meeting (open to non-members too!) Thursday, September 27th 7p.m. to 8p.m. at the School District’s Board Room, 364 S. Park St. Please come to give your input on the future of Daily Market Cooperative, and elect next year’s Board of Directors.
Offer Board of Directors Ballot and Survey online, if you can’t make it to our meeting.
Thank you for your interest, support, and feedback.
Your Board of Directors: