Co-Op Objectives

To better explore the potential for this enterprise, let's define the purpose of the group and declare our intentions.  Since people involved would be determining their own destiny and forming a cooperative enterprise with their own purpose in mind, the following list is more of a guideline.  There is nothing written in stone here at this time.  Before the launching of the enterprise, the objectives and foundational principles of the group must be clearly stated.  If they are changed mid-course, there must be entrance and exit strategies for members, lest the list become a bait and switch tactic.

We want to
    1 Make money
    2 Save money
    3 Get more value for the dollar we are already spending
    4 Earn a reasonable return on our investment of time and money
    5 Create opportunity

We are willing to:
    6 Invest in the enterprise to get it started and keep it going
    7 Commit to keeping the project going
    8 Invest time to make things happens
    9 Go the extra mile

We need to:
    10 Produce our own goods
    11 Provide our own services
    12 Buy our own products
    13 Become more self-sufficient
    14 Put ourselves to work
    15 Support the local community and local economy
    16 Maintain high and clean moral and ethical standards
    17 Look out for ourselves first

1 We want to make some money
In order to start this project we each have to come out of pocket for the inital investment, plus cough up another $25 every month.  It would be advantageous to recover that investment as well as generate a residual income stream.  Rather than debate the ethics of money and greed, we'll use money as the incentive which drives the project.  If we can do all the things in this plan and make money, then we have realized the purpose of organizing ourselves.

2 We want to save money
Cooperation, sharing and efficient use of resources serves this end.  Optionally, everyone can skip the plan and keep pouring their money into the toilet.  

3 We want to get more value for the dollar we are already spending
Everyone in the group is already spending money on groceries, tools, goods and services.  Rather than spend it individually, we use those dollars collectively.  A tool library excels at meeting this objective.  We gain access to more items of better quality in a shorter time period.  With a place to store the items, a means of delivery, and a staff to maintain them we gain dependability and durability.

4 We want to earn a reasonable return on our investment of time and money
The question here: "What is a reasonable return on investment?"  The best answer I can come up with is 'more than you were getting before', and with as little risk possible.  Beyond that, any figure greater than the rate of inflation keeps you even or better.  
A reasonable return on our investment of time is a little easier to quantify.  Minimum wage is the start.  We should earn at least that.  A lot of the work duties involved in a farm or food service operation can be done with unskilled workers.  Raise the bar to a higher target: $10/hour.  

5 We want to create opportunity
A short description here is difficult.  With the core projects of a farm, kitchen and store, there is already a huge opportunity for the group.  Individuals can take advantage of these with garden plot rental to grow food on their own, renting the licensed kitchen overnight to produce their own goods, and producing quality craft products for consignment sales in the store.  Being able to access the tool library, anyone can take on a side project...taking it all the way to start a business.  The Cottage Industry Project opens the door for anyone willing to go through.  Being able to learn a marketable skill, better oneself, and build confidence offers more opportunity than can be quantified.

6 Invest in the enterprise to get it started and keep it going
We need the initial investment to put it all together.  $500 for a share of the company is a start.  If you believe in the idea, Invest in the land company.   Become active as a sharecropper, keeping the bills paid and the doors open.  Buy your goods from your own company.

7 We are willing to commit to keeping the project going
This means giving up your weekend fun time to give it what you've got.  This means coming in when the phone rings.  This means doing your best when you are here.  This means serving as a representative for the group when you are out in public, without being a zealot.  This means striving to keep the bills down by bringing in compostable materials, searching for deals, turning off lights, returning tools to their proper location, keeping the place clean, reporting damage, searching for ways to improve operations, proposing new products, ideas, and methods and also putting in time to think them through with full detail.  This means sharing your experience with others so they become better workers and better people.

8  We are willing to invest time to make things happens
There is much to do before Move In Day.  We need to recruit members and investors.  We need to develop a plan specific to the needs of the people involved.  We need to find potential customers and make friends with them.  We need to be on the lookout for properties and opportunities.  We need to find the resources and supplies we'll want later.  We need to develop relationships with people in the group in order to better understand our abilities.  We need to develop relationships with people outside of the group in order to extend our reach and find more opportunities.

9 Go the extra mile
Get involved.  There's plenty of work to do.  There is also organizing and planning that needs to go into everything we do.  Bringing creative ideas to the table can sharpen our industry and bear fruit in ways as yet not thought of.  Come in early, stay late, and put your best foot forward to get the job done on time and on budget.

10 We need to produce our own goods
Buying in bulk is a fine plan which allows us to redirect spending to our own company.  The kitchen lets us produce those goods for the cost of ingredients.  The closer we are to the source, the cheaper the goods become.  The farm is the source.  We gain resilience and indepence when we are not dependent on others
for our needs.

11 We need to provide our own services
You hire someone to mow your lawn?  We've got the equipment in the shed and people lined up begging for work.  

12 We need to Buy our own products
As seen with milk, even if the price is the same as another store, WE make the profit.  For those items we make, we need to make them better.

13 We need to become more self-sufficient
A diversified income gives each person involved an advantage.  Self-sufficiency brings independence.  This applies to the group as well.

14 We need to put ourselves to work
If the economy goes into decline, we have a back up plan. 

15 We need to Support the local community and local economy
No matter how much business we take to JC Penney, the owners are not expected to come to us with their business.  The owner of a local gas station can reciprocate.  Buy from Domino's pizza, they will continue to do business with their same suppliers.  A local pizza shop may take an interest in buying our produce, carrying our baked goods, and allowing us to place a can collection box outide the store.

16 We need to Maintain high and clean moral and ethical standards
Clean refers to the crispness of the standard: Do what's right.  There's no grey area there.  Treat each other well.  We've got no labels, we are not black, white, gay, fat, stupid, bald, old, useless, Jewish, geeks, jocks, or a member of some societal partition which make you or them lesser, better, more privelaged, or undeserving.  If you are part of our group, you are doing what you can for the betterment of all of us.  Rather than shun or bully someone who is not meeting your expectations, it's your place to help them become more.

17 We need to look out for ourselves first
The missing word is Myself.  If we can't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of others.  There may be room for charity, but not at the expense of someone in the group who needs their due.

Cooperative Enterprise, Plan Outline