By Pete Woltz, IFC Board President
I have been thinking lately about my dual role experiences as both a producer and consumer of the Iowa Food Coop. Shopping and selling products through the IFC presents some interesting challenges. Because I have become a product of a society geared toward instant everything, delivering product and shopping on a two-week schedule requires me to resurrect an ancient set of skills… planning!
Many of our regular shoppers have a highly evolved ‘meal planning’ gene. To them, sitting at a computer to plug from over 1,000 locally-produced IFC food treasurers into approximately 42 meal time slots becomes second nature. One by one they mix and match and visualize the future. “Let’s see, Steak ‘n’ Eggs greens simmering with LaVentosa Berkshire bacon, that’ll work for next week’s potluck”.
As producers, we must accurately plan and track our inventories so as not to ‘out’ a product on distribution day. And, I am not talking sexual orientation here! Outing occurs when a product is removed from a consumer’s invoice. This can occur for any number of reasons, but it is usually a sad event for everyone involved. It creates loss of revenue for the IFC, loss of revenue for the producer, and, most importantly, disruption in the lives of our highly evolved and much beloved consumers.
Here are a couple of things we as producers can do to help keep ‘outs’ from happening. Check and double check orders prior to delivery. Also, use the IFC website’s inventory feature to control sales volume. Check inventory against orders prior cart closing. That way, consumers can be notified in time to make a product substitution in the event of a product ‘out’.
The IFC is the best place on the planet to feed ourselves. It may take a little more planning and a little more strategy, but hey, we are evolved! SHOP THE COOP today.