Frequently Asked Questions

For Questions specific to Placing an Order please see our Shopping FAQ

General Info

How will ordering and delivery take place through the cooperative?

The cooperative uses a web-based ordering system. Delivery and distribution occur at one drop site located at Merle Hay Mall. You may also pick up your goods at our satellite sites in West Des Moines, Downtown (Sherman Hill), Ankeny, Ames, and Osceola.

As a consumer, why should I join the coop?

  • Convenient access to a wide variety of healthy, fresh, frozen, and processed food and non-food products grown and/or produced in Iowa.
  • Shop product offerings from multiple producers to compare prices, types, and the production practices used by each producer to find a product that meets your needs.
  • Increased access to foods that meet your personal preferences regarding production practices.
  • Acquire a better knowledge of where your food comes from and establish relationships with the people that produce it.
  • Support Iowa’s rural economy.
  • Support farming practices that embrace social and environmental sustainability.

Who can be a part of the Cooperative?

Farmers, niche market entrepreneurs and consumers may join the cooperative as sellers, buyers or both. All members have equal voting privileges.

What is the membership fee for the Iowa Food Cooperative?

$50 one-time membership fee, with an additional annual $10 fee starting in year two, for use for educational and outreach purposes.

What kind of food and/or products will be sold?

A wide variety of food and non-food items will be offered through the Iowa Food Cooperative. While many products will be offered each order cycle, others may be offered based on availability and seasonality of the product. In all cases, the product was grown or produced in Iowa. See the Producer Standards Page for a complete set of standards for who can sell what products through the IFC

 

Help

What is my password again?

It happens to all of us, we save the e-mail, write it down, come up with some catchy phrase, and then promptly forget our log-in information. Fortunately there is a way you can recover it.

When you attempt to log-in and can’t you should see this screen:

Forgot Password Dialog

Click on the link, “Forgot your Password?

You should see this:

  • This will require the information you entered into the registration form when you signed up.
  • This form will e-mail a new password to you at the e-mail you registered with.
  • It requires 2 of 3 bits of information. First Name + Last Name count as 1 bit.
  • If you no longer have a copy of your registration form, we can re-send it to you

Here is a sample e-mail:

This form AND your registration are CaSe SeNsItIvE. Also spaces are recognized characters, so be careful if your using copy & paste. Let us know if you need your membership registration form or this does not seem to be working not working. membership@iowafood.coop

I can’t make it to distribution. Do you have an alternate pick-up?

We offer an additional time to pick up items at Merle Hay Mall site:
Saturday, following the standard distribution from 10a-noon. Please let us know ahead of time via email to info@iowafood.coop

If you have special circumstances that will prevent you from picking up, please send an email to info@iowafood.coop

If we have to cancel due to inclement weather, we will announce it via email and our Facebook page.

Any items not picked up then will be donated to the DMARC food pantry. Even items that would “keep” until next distribution will be donated.  The cost of items left unclaimed will still be due from the member and will be added to their next invoice. You must pay by check or exact cash if picking up on Sunday as there will be no card machine or cash box available.

Carts are closed. How can I view my cart to confirm my order?

After carts close you can no longer see the cart view.
When you log-in at the top you should see a tab for ‘Shopping’.

Where the link was to ‘view your cart’ it now says ‘Carts closed’.
Just below that is a link to “View In-Process Invoice”.

Click that and it will show you all you had in your cart at the time it closed.

How do you make a payment?

You can find out the amount you owe by logging in and clicking the link titled “View in-process Invoice”, but you’ll have to wait to get the total if you bought some variable weight products.
Producers have until midnight two days before distribution to enter the weights. Those weights are needed to figure out the amount owed for that product.

You can pay by check when you pick up your order, or you can pay ahead of time using Dwolla or Paypal. Credit card and EBT payment is accepted at Merle Hay Mall.

I just Ordered. Now what?

You’ve  joined, you’ve ordered, and its Distribution Day, what now?

If you’ve paid with Paypal or Dwolla, you are ready to go!  Otherwise, bring your checkbook, credit/debit card and reusable shopping bags, ’cause we’re keeping it a little greener!

If you are paying with check, please wait to write in the amount on your check until you receive your invoice at the distribution site, as changes sometimes do occur.

When you arrive at the distribution site, someone will give you a copy of your invoice and then you need to get a white crate for gathering your order.  Proceed to the first table and a friendly volunteer will begin getting your dry goods.  Soon you will be passed along to the frozen foods, and then lastly the volunteers will give you any refrigerated items and eggs.

Take your crate to the center table, check your invoice and bag your food, then give your invoice and receipt, check or card to the cashier and you are done!

Do check your order as you are bagging, to make sure we give you everything you’ve ordered.

If you are interested in volunteering, email  volunteer@iowafood.coop We would be delighted to have you join us on Distribution day!

Happy Eating!

As a producer, why should I join the coop?

  • Create an identity in a new market, thus adding new sources of revenue into your business.
  • Set your own prices.
  • Benefit from the marketing activities of the Iowa Food Cooperative.
  • Reduce the time and cost of marketing and distributing your products to consumers.
  • Work alongside other area consumers and other producers to increase awareness, availability and quality of local food.
  • Directly contribute to the economic growth of your community

How do I become a Producer for the Iowa Food Coop?

Becoming a producer for The Iowa Food Cooperative is a two step process:

You may complete the Producer Application immediately after completing the Member Registration Form, just be sure to check the box “I am interested in becoming a producer member for The Iowa Food Cooperative.” Which displays below the form field for Business Name.

If you would like to complete your Producer Application at a later time, once we have processed your membership & payment, you may log-in and then complete the Producer Application.


  1. Greetings,

    We’re interested in becoming a part of your co-op. Ben Saunders has recommend it to us and we’d love to give it a try.

    We have a variety of certified organic veggies as well as grass fed beef available. Let us know if these are items your co-op needs.

    Thanks!
    Melissa Dunham

  2. Hello Melissa!
    Thank you for your interest and for letting us know been has referred you!

    Becoming a producer for The Iowa Food Cooperative is a two step process:
    - First, become a member by completing a Member Registration Form.
    - Then complete and submit a Producer Application.

    You may complete the Producer Application immediately after completing the Member Registration Form, just be sure to check the box “I am interested in becoming a producer member for The Iowa Food Cooperative.” Which displays below the form field for Business Name.

    If you would like to complete your Producer Application at a later time, once we have processed your membership & payment, you may log-in and then complete the Producer Application.

    Thanks again! We look forward to having you join us!
    ~David Couch, Board Member,
    The Iowa Food Cooperative

  3. I have difficulty interpreting the process – if I join and use the Merle Hay distribution site – what days/times can I pick up my order? Or is there an option to have a delivery to my home?

  4. Is it possible to by a coop gift card?

  5. We have gift cards for memberships, but not for buying products. Memberships are $50, which is for a lifetime membership. Let us know if that is what you were wanting and we can work out the details.

  6. I would need to pick up in Ames. Where is the location and what is the time-frame I would have to pick up my items? Fridays right? (twice a month) Thanks, Carol

  7. Ames drop off happens at the Prairie Rivers RC&D office, which is located on the DNR nursery near Lowes in SE Ames. Time frame is 4:30-5:30 pm on the Friday after our Des Moines area distributions.

  8. So when I order stuff, i have to come pick it up. Where do I pick it up from ? Are there times? More info would great on the process. Thanks!