Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bailey's Buying Club Update

Hi Folks,

Sure wish there was buying club this week. The local vegetable
options are pretty slim in our house: squash, turnip, zucchini,
carrots, potatoes and beets. Hmm, when I write it out it looks like a
decent selection. I'm looking forward to next week when we'll have
sweet potatoes, cabbages and all-local organic pasta! I know, pasta
is not a vegetable. Aren't those turnips nice from Selema? Matthew's
been serving raw turnip sticks and the kids say they're almost as good
as kohlrabi. My father-in-law says that before pumpkin carving people
used to carve turnips. I can imagine that with the size that these
are! Turnips for cattle grow bigger yet.

On Friday Rachael Ward, Jessi Ward (no relation), and myself met with
City of Waterloo staff to talk about how to legally run this buying
club from our house. The short answer is that right now there is no
legal way to continue to sell things from a residentially zoned
property. We can push for changes in the Operational Plan that is
under revision but that is a change that would take a year or two to
implement. I'd like to see the OP include an annual permit that is
granted to local food initiatives. This would allow people to legally
sell produce from their gardens, host a CSA pick up site and host a
buying club.

So we need to find another location as close to my home as possible
that is zoned for commercial use. Any ideas? I'm wondering if any of
you know the people who live above the Casa Mia deli. One idea is to
get permission to use their three car garage. The people-traffic would
benefit the deli. Another idea is to hold it in a church. Each church
has its own zoning designation. I'm looking into the zoning for Erb
St. Mennonite and W-K United Mennonite (on George St) and First United
on William St. Other suggestions of churches that might have a
commercial zoning and be open to hosting a buying club? I think we'll
be changing the buying club to a not-for-profit organization so
churches might be more open to that rather than hosting a business.

The other question I want to ask you all is if anyone is going to or
coming from the Niagara area in the next week or two? I've got about
400lbs of nuts that I want to offer buying club members but I need to
figure out how to get them here. If I make a special trip to get them
it makes them really expensive.

We'll go ahead and hold the Oct 31 buying club pick up here at 72A.
I'm kind of tempted to keep holding it here until they fine us and
then going to court (which is how it works, the judge decides the fine
amount) to argue the case and using the publicity as a learning
opportunity. What do you think? The fine could be as high as $20,000
I've just submitted a $10,000,000 idea to Google's contest. The idea
is called Local Foods Local Wheels and involves using the railway
going North to bring in local food to a Sustainable Food Technology
Centre on the north campus of U of W. If you're interested in big
picture vision stuff, see the attached description. It's painfully
short because Google limited the number of words for each answer.
There's also a painfully short You-Tube to go with it. You'll find it
if you search under Local Foods Local Wheels. It was still
"processing" when I checked an hour ago but may be running now.
Google chooses 100 of the ideas that help the most people and then the
public votes to choose the five finalists. Very interesting process.
I'm excited to see all the 100 ideas! I think it is a great way to
generate big ideas and visions. We need to let ourselves dream big
sometimes. If you let yourself dream big for five minutes, what do
you see? Don't worry about the logistics of how to implement it, just
imagine it.

With hope,

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