Inland Empire Organic Produce Buying Club Message Board › IMPORTANT IEOPBC NEWS
Hello dear fellow Organic Produce Enthusiasts,
It’s time for an Inland Empire Organic Produce Buying Club news update.
We hope you were able to enjoy the Lavender Festival at the Highland Springs Resort! Cherry Valley had taken a break from our Meetups to stay out of their way during this very busy time.
The Redlands Meetup is still on hiatus. The Redlands organizer, Mona, has done a wonderful job, under increasingly difficult circumstances, to make the Redlands Meetup happen, and we are very grateful and thankful to her for the personal sacrifices she made to keep it going for as long as she did. Unfortunately, the amount of time it took organizing the Meetups was taking too much of a toll on her and her family, so she was forced to step down as an organizer.
Way back when, the IEOPBC, after I joined and it was reorganized, had four organizers splitting up the tasks. As time went on, most of these organizers had to quit due to a move, or to take new jobs, and we were surprised to find out how difficult it is to find volunteers to replace them reliably and consistently. So, we ended up with two Meetup groups, Redlands and Cherry Valley, each with only one organizer to do all the prep work for each Meetup.
Here’s a rundown of the work it takes to organize one of our Meetups: Reconcile the paperwork for the previous Meetup and take the deposit to the bank, prepare our site on Meetup.com for the next Meetup, send out reminder email, answer individual member email questions, put together participant list including those who have prepaid and those paying though PayPal, compare this list to the RSVPs and send emails to members with discrepancies, call local farmers and our wholesaler and get their produce availability and price lists, look through these lists and decide what to order (finding just the right balance between price, variety, delivery costs, and minimum order requirements), place orders for produce, eggs, and bread, call suppliers and check on status of orders and redo orders as necessary (produce supplies are erratic and subject to change, e.g. Guess what, last night, a herd of rabbits ate the carrots we were going to sell you!), pick up eggs and any produce that can’t be delivered, meet deliveries, and help unload produce from the trucks and into the refrigerator, finalize participant list and prepare paperwork for the Meetup, plan produce basket contents based on produce actually received (which usually differs somewhat from what was ordered), set up enough volunteers to help set up, check in, and clean up on Saturday, and finally...run the Meetup! On top of this we have paperwork, meetings etc. to keep up our city, county, and state permits, taxes, filings, and our corporate status as a nonprofit mutual benefit group.
As the sole remaining organizer, I’m in a quandary. I, as well a Mona, had been doing this work on a volunteer basis out of our passion for organics, our hope for greater local organic produce production, and a desire to help our members get healthy, organic food at a reasonable price. I would love to see the IEOPBC continue to expand and grow, possibly with storefront venues. Unfortunately, because of the amount of work involved, I cannot keep doing this as a volunteer. This has been an extremely hard decision for me to make, and to request of the IEOPBC board, and I realize that many of you may be unhappy about this, but in order for the IEOPBC to continue, starting July, 21, the cost of a share of produce will be increased to $28, an increase of $5 per share, in order to provide compensation to the organizer.
The IEOPBC will remain a nonprofit mutual benefit group, and we will continue need volunteers to help run the Meetups on Saturdays. We plan to offer more benefits to members, including special orders and a wider variety of baskets. The possibility of offering organic meats is also on our radar.
We intend to start the Redlands Meetup again, but need to find a new, more workable venue. Farm Artisan Foods has been extremely generous over the years by allowing us to use their front patio for IEOPBC Meetups, and we thank them from the bottom of hearts. The new pick up location needs to have enough space (for both produce distribution and for people to be able to hang out and talk), shelter from the sun (we could use easy-ups), allow us enough time to carry out the Meetup without being rushed, be in a commercial location that can accept deliveries from large trucks, parking, and ideally refrigeration (this allows way more flexibility in delivery times). If anyone has any ideas, please let us know! For those of you that have already submitted ideas, thank you, we will be following up soon.
Now the future of the IEOPBC is up to you, the members! Your participation, or lack thereof, will let us know whether or not this new IEOPBC model is viable.
Please feel free to offer comments, suggestions, or constructive criticisms to help guide us as we move forward.
Jei Roberts, IEOPBC organizer