The essential business of the Iowa Food Cooperative is to provide a web-based marketplace of Iowa-grown food for willing buyers and sellers. At no time does the cooperative take title to any of the products. We have no inventory. Products that go through our distribution system are owned by our producer members, who then sell these products directly to our consumer members.
Acting as an agent of producer members, the IFC provides a web-based system for producers to post foods and goods they have for sale, facilitates delivery of ordered products to the cooperative’s distribution sites, collects money from the consumer members who have purchased products, and forwards payments to producers.
The IFC sells products that are grown, raised, or made in Iowa. We do this via an order and delivery system based on this website and a network of members. We operate on an ordering and delivery cycle, which is published on our calendar. There are several pick-up sites available located in central Iowa. Plans are to add additional distribution sites as the cooperative grows.
To be a part of the IFC, producers and consumers first need to become members. The fee to become a member is $50. After the first year, there is also an annual fee of $10 that is used to keep our membership current, which is important for paying patronage dividends.
Handling fees on transactions are used to pay for services the coop performs to help its members buy and sell from each other. The fee is 17.5% for both farmers and consumers. This means that if a farmer sells $100 worth of product, a fee of $17.50 will be subtracted from their check, and if a consumer buys $100 worth of product, a fee of $17.50 will be added to their invoice.
During the ordering period, members log-in and shop by placing products in their shopping cart. The amount of product available is set by the producer, with these products available on a first-come, first-served basis. Once a product is put in your cart, it stays there until the order cycle closes unless you remove it. When the ordering window is closed, your order is fixed.
After the order cycle closes, the producers log into the website to see who ordered what products. The producers then upload weights of products that can vary (such as beef roasts, whole chickens, etc.) and prices are finalized.
On the morning of the designated delivery day, all ordered products are delivered to the retail space in the Merle Hay Mall in Des Moines. Products are checked in and placed on shelves or in refrigerators or freezers as appropriate. In the late afternoon and early evening, members pick up their orders at the IFC location nearest to them and pay for their products.