Co-operation Among Co-operatives

Jen Springett of Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op and Roy Guisinger of Open Food Source.

Jen Springett of Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op and Roy Guisinger of Open Food Source.

The sixth of the seven guiding principles of Co-ops, is
Co-operation among Co-operatives.

“Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.”

Last week, the CLFC Board of Directors & the Food Security Research Network arranged to have Roy & Caryl Guisinger from Nebraska Food Co-op visit Dryden. Roy is one of the lead developers of the Open Food Source software that our online farmers’ market utilizes, and Caryl is the General Manager of the Nebraska Food Co-op.
This visit was critical to help us learn more about how Nebraska Food Co-op manages a transportation route throughout a large portion of their state with 26 food exchange points. This information will be invaluable as investigate the possibility of expanding our Co-op to source food from producers all over Northwestern Ontario, while distributing to consumers in multiple communities such as Emo, Red Lake, Kenora, and Sioux Lookout.
Roy has been an instrumental part of our success thus far. He shared his upgraded version of this software with us, and even helped us to customize it for our use. He helped our webmaster Chris Pollard get it up and running when we started, and he continues to assist us as needed to diagnose problems and keep things running smoothly. All because…he enjoys offering his skilled support to people that he believes are doing good things, as his “contribution to the world”. We think he’s doing pretty great things for local food too.

This visit between our Co-ops was an amazing opportunity to exchange ideas and gain a completely fresh perspective from people who share our values, and also operate an online farmers’ market in a significantly different fashion (in a different country, no less!). We are thankful to have friends in other Co-ops to help us continue to grow, flourish, and strengthen local food security.

To read more about this visit, don’t miss this week’s Dryden Observer.

Article credit: Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op.

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