Real Food Community

The Real Food Community Center is a private buying club arrangement to help the members obtain high quality products at affordable prices while building the local economy. The beginning is now! The initial goal starts with 150 members growing in 4 months to 1500 members, to begin to create an economy of scale that will make affordable nutrient dense foods, most grown locally, available to those who want great taste, health, and the healing potential.

The plan is to work out of a first location with 150 members and to increase our numbers in a matter of months so that other RFC Centers and delivery routes can be set up in a way that increases convenience for members. All location considerations are based upon how you respond. Basically, when enough people are interested in an area, it will come to fruition.

We now have software that enables us to access thousands of products with the ability to keep problems of scale to a manageable level while we raise money for the software design that is much more powerful than any I have seen. It is that which is necessary to transform the multinational, corporate, non-transparent, factory-farmed food system from which we all get food, to a sustainable, just, enjoyable, transparent, food system that has great rewards to all members of the community at large.

The estimated funding:

For the immediate projects:

1) $18,000 to around $45,000 To get into the first RFCC building with refrigeration and other needs, highly depend upon the resources of our respondents,

2) About $25,000 For capitalizing the buying club portion, with pre-paid accounts

For Software and the mid-term project:

3) $50,000 Set up and develop the RFC software (this is from the RFC member fee, and also pays members who refer others, a critical job/role)

For less urgent needs:

4) Approx. $50,000 or more to build out a Community Kitchen

5) From $25,000 to $150,000 for aquaculture production on site

Sources of funding: You

Repayment Schedule goal—within two years

These needs will be met through small amounts being advanced to the club from members, as decided by each member. These advances of start-up capital ought to be fully repaid before the end of the first year, but we will say 2 years. The RFC Center could open up with only the refrigeration units and storage for food, or with the other components of aquaculture and the community kitchen. As enough money to start the secondary components comes in, we can do them. Of course, labor and similar contributions from members could make this happen faster.

The Model:

The Real Food Community Center (RFCC) is a truly private buying club, in which you open an account with a couple weeks worth of grocery and cleaning supply money into the club. Let's say $150 for a goal. This account is a running positive balance, used to purchase items in bulk at a discount. This is your savings! This is like our own Big Lot's, Sam's or Costco, but with some higher quality items! The balance is boosted back up each week when you come in to pick up your order. Typically folks have about $100 to $300 in their account. The software manages the orders for local products from local food producers and similar products to what you would get from stores like Whole Foods, Kroger, Meijer, small health shops, etc. Products like: Almond butter, chocolate, Shoyu sauce, toilet paper, cleaners, bulk herbs, steak, chicken, eggs, etc.--most at a good discount while putting money into our local economy.

More of How it Works:

Delivery to other areas of town from our first location will develop. An RFC Center acts like a grocery store by using the club's money to buy wholesale items, and add a small charge for administration. The items are selected based on the member’s interest. You, as a member, select items for yourself on the website, the administrators place the group's order and pays for it with the money on hand in everyone's account. Thus, your 20 items that you may have ordered totaling $124.55 is deducted from your account of $150 and when you pick up you replenish your account balance. Perhaps when you come into the RFC Center you find other items that you want to get and add those to your invoice. Maybe you got $32 of local produce and a bottle of apple cider vinegar you forgot to order. Now, your total is $156.55, and you put $160 into your account, for an ending balance that week of $153.45 in your account.

This concept is bringing local foods to your local area as we grow. We provide a market for local farmers and artisans. They can count on an increasing volume from us, so pricing becomes better and better for locally produced items. Currently the best software solution is being developed. With growth, more and more locations will be added by people working within their neighborhoods to make RFC Centers serve as food and social hubs. If you know of a building that is situated within a convenient (walking) distance from a residential area please note that, especially if the landlord is friendly to these ideas.

Real Food Community Centers:

A Real Food Community Center (RFCC) is a building where foods are brought for distribution to members. Members gather at the RFCC for a seminar or presentation, a meal with a friend, to study (like in a Starbucks), and to pick up their food. The Real Food Community (RFC) software allows local farmers and other producers to be networked to local consumers via a dynamic system of drivers, food hubs, door-to-door delivery networks, and managers to coordinate a revamping of our food distribution system, allowing Co-ops, CSA's, Farmer's Markets and other systems to grow and be networked in ways that provide more freedom, security, convenience, socialization and potential for enjoyment of life to all people involved, consumers, producers, or other workers.

The RFCC is a building that need not be a desirable retail location because only members can come to obtain their pre-purchased items. Products in the RFCC may be picked up at certain pick up times or arrangements made for home delivery. With the expected growth plan, it is desirable to have a building that has:

1) At least 2,000 sq. ft. with expansion possibility to more than 15,000 sq. ft. a large space is good, as it can be filled. The monthly expenses must be manageable.

2) The capability for a commercial community kitchen—able to have vents for fume hoods, stove and oven hook-ups, 3-place sink(s), etc.

3) The format & capacity for a common space for community gatherings and presentations—considering the arrangement of immovable structural components like walls—space for dinner style seating for all member families as we grow, doubling as a pickup area at other times.

4) A loading dock and capacity to receive shipments from a semi-truck.

5) High level electrical use capacity for operating refrigeration AND cooking units.

6) Parking for member vehicles—this grows as we grow. Sometimes the bulk of the membership would gather at the building, but not usually. Consider how to manage 1500 member households showing up at a meeting, utilizing walking (the neighborhood concept) and car-pooling.

7) Suitability for wireless phone reception and for being a hotspot for wireless internet access. In other words, without electrical interference.

8) An owner willing to work out acceptable move in and start up expenses. Interested in staying in the same location, and eventually purchasing the building(s).

The first RFC Center models off of a food club in Louisville which is moving close to $15-20,000 per week of orders. I expect to hit that level quickly by involving many local neighborhoods. They have been running for 7+ years and are willing to share the solutions that their “school of hard knocks” has given them so that they can make our growth quicker than theirs. Our efforts will be duplicated and refined around Cincinnati, the region, the country and the world as the RFC software is deployed.

A couple of expected results of this paradigm shift is healing and better living environments by having fresh foods (less than 2 days since harvest) available for people everywhere. Frequently foods have been harvested several WEEKS before ending up in the hands of the consumer with less than half of their nutrient value. These goals will improve the poor taste and nutrient density of tomorrow's foods, allowing for better health & recovery from disease processes. We will make this change together!

If you have questions or need some financial help to make this happen, just contact Michael@RealFoodCommunity.com


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