Co-Op Move In Day

There will be a time when the people come together, form the Co-op, work out details, make plans to determine the direction, find and purchase the property and finally take possession and move in.  Move In Day is the most significant milestone we will experience.  Everything after that is expansion.  Our journey is just beginning.  The work is cut out for us.  In front of us is a field of dreams.

We ain't getting no work done.  We should make a day of it.

Get the word out.  Social networks, phone calls, a website announcement, see to it everyone involved in any way is informed.  Land Company investors, Co-op shareholders, sharecroppers, people we've tried to recruit, friends and family, neighbors and guests.  The newspaper can send out someone to take a few pictures.  It'll make a wonderful Human Interest story for the 6 o'clock news.  Invite the Mayor, the Sheriff, County Commissioners, State legislators, the Governor, and the district Congressman for good measure.  Invite a minister to offer a benediction.  It'll be fun.  Add in some ceremony with some speeches, cut a ribbon, take pictures of some people in suits digging into the soil with some shiney shovels.  Politicians will be happy to stop in and rub elbows with constituents.  

This is not the time to talk about how many potatoes to plant and what variety.  This moment is for talking about dreams.  Mine, yours, theirs, everone's.  From time to time folks should take a break from their regular routine to spend a day talking about dreams.  It's an important part of how they are achieved.   When was the last time you were part of a group of hundred of people talking about how awesome things are going to be?

Being move in day, we've got pretty much nothing to work with.  We don't even have a coffee machine.  This could be particularly tough on me.  
Food would be a delight to offer the guests.  With all the press and government officials, we'll want licenses in place before we serve anything.  There are plenty of options.  Bringing in vendors is pretty easy, they'll take care of their own supplies and are already licensed.  If we hold off on the big event, we can get our own ducks lined up, serve our own food, and be better equipped to take advantage of the free press.  

A sampling booth with loaves of fresh bread.  Slice, spread with a pat of our herbal butter, let everyone try it.  Give them a taste to find out what Good is, perhaps we'll draw in some customers.  Cookies are another winner for an event of this sort.  Set up a few trays, let people help themselves.  Take orders.  Set out some flyers on how to order.  Set up a table with sample goods from the Buyers Group, again with a flyer or sign up form so they can come back when things have quieted down.  Offer cold drinks for sale.  Couple this with a barrel for cans and a promotional display for the Cans for College project.  Show them what we can do.  Show how we can help them.

As a recruiting tool, a Move In Day Fair can expose people to the idea of the co-op.  If more members is a need, this is a fine time to talk people up, invite them back for a better explanation of the plan.  It's a sure bet that we'll lose people over time through attrition.  We'll want to plant the seed in as many minds as possible.

For the kids, we can have some fun and games.  We've got cookies on the sample table so we know they'll be fully stocked with sugar.  An egg toss is an easy one.  Bring a clean shirt because you're goin down!  A 3 legged race will need some rope and a ribbon.  A water on a spoon relay can involve groups of people.  Give them a ball...dodgeball, jail, plenty of games to play but I admit I've forgotten many of them.  Prizes?  It may be possible to come up with something.  Gardening books would be a fitting prize.

Prior to this event most of the people will have been involved in meetings and probably have not met too many of the other folks.  There's a good chance some of the kids will have met in school.  There will be some instances of folks who know each other as friends and neighbors-that's probably how they were recruited.  For the most part, this will be the largest gathering of the group to date.  We'll have had some large meetings, but not with the kids.  This is a chance to meet everyone in an informal setting, have a little fun, and share our dreams.



Cooperative Enterprise, Plan Outline