Co-Op: Projects

Starting a new business from the ground up brings a substantial investment just to establish the framework.  The existence of the farm, kitchen, and store opens the door for more projects to be added to the enterprise.  We've already got a location, structures, systems, legal documentation, staff, a bathroom, cash handling procedures, insurance, and hundreds of customers.  We don't incur the expense of reinventing the wheel every time we add on a project.  This puts a world of opportunity within reach.

The kitchen and store shows us that adding just a few pieces of equipment expands our product lines.  We already got a bakery, sliced cold cuts, produce from the farm.  Adding on a sandwich shop calls for a cold table and a menu.  We've already got staff and frozen storage.  Adding on an ice cream shop needs an ice cream making machine and a display case.  We've already got some tools to work with on the farm.  Making them available to borrow requires some tracking procedures.

We've already got components and resources in place.  How we combine those parts and pieces, and what we do with them presents virtually unlimited potential.  Each project we add can lead to more projects.  For example, we already mow our lawns and rake our leaves, hundreds of us.  Rather than placing the trimmings and sacked leaves by the curb, we bring them to the farm to make our own compost.  This will save us money and add fertility to the fields.  While we are at it, we can use the compost to raise worms and chickens.  The chickens give us eggs.  With the worms, we can develop aquaponics, giving us fish and irrigation all in one fell swoop.  

We can bring in other materials besides leaves and grass.  Bring in your scrap lumber.  We've got tools in place.  It's a simple matter to set up a woodshop.  With a woodshop in place, it's a simple matter of putting it to use.  From that can spring retail products such as picnic tables.  Individuals can take the ball and run, developing a cottage industry of their own.  Jack can make wooden toys, games, crafts, and case pieces.  Bring in your surplus materials.  Old clothes, small tools, unused equipment, that half gallon of leftover paint, that box of books that has been in the closet for 4 years.  This has the makings of a repurpose shop.  From that can spring arts and crafts workshops and classes.  We'll turn those old clothes into reusable shopping bags.  We're one step away from an Arts and Crafts Fair.  Instead of throwing them out, bring in your aluminum cans.  We'll start a scholarship program.

There are projects that we can get going for free.  Others will take investment, but offer a benefit making the investment worthwhile.  There will be cases where we will be making the investment as a matter of course.  Some of these projects will save us money.  Some will make money for the co-op.  Some offer opportunity for people.



Cooperative Enterprise, Plan Outline