A Closer Look at How the System Works
Mass Local Food’s monthly cycle is anchored in three key events: Orders Open, Orders Close, and Distribution Day.
Each cycle begins with an Orders Open letter that the Board of Directors e-mails to co-op members about two weeks before Distribution Day. When members receive this letter, they can log on to the Shop page, choose their pickup site preference, and start their order. In the days prior to Orders Open, producer members list the goods they have available for sale during any given cycle. (People who are not yet members of the co-op can browse the product list at any time. They are, however, unable to place an order until they join the co-op.)
The Orders Open period is about eleven days and closes at midnight on the Monday before Distribution Day. During the days between Orders Close and Distribution Day, producer members process, assemble, and carefully label orders according to the instructions detailed in Producer Procedures.
On Distribution Day, Mass Local Food’s organizers and volunteers gather at the Gardner sorting site where producers arrive with their orders. After producers check in, they get paid and volunteers sort the items by customer order and pickup site location.
Volunteer drivers from each pickup site arrive about 3 pm to load and transport customers’ orders to their chosen pickup sites. Each pickup site has designated times during which customers can pick up their orders. Pickup site volunteers do not have cash for making change, so customers must be sure to bring a check when they pick up their orders.