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Featured: Our Table

A small, dirt-scented revolution is taking place in Sherwood, Oregon, where the sixty acres of Our Table Cooperative are cultivated, relationships are forged, and the long-term perspective on food sourcing is at the forefront. Caravan Coffee is fortunate to be the coffee provider for this unique coop, so today we want to highlight the great work and the enthusiastic workers making Our Table possible. Our staff storyteller, Emily, spoke with Gianna Banducci, Director of Marketing and Sales, and Mallory Cochrane, Aggregation and Distribution Manager for the coop, over a shaky Skype connection. Here’s a small peek into the world of Our Table!

20130606_our_table_2489“We are a multi-stakeholder coop, with three different categories of members. First, there are workers, including Mallory and me, our retail manager, and the seven to eight farmers,” says Banducci. “Next we have the producer members, like Caravan. These are independent growers, artisans, or craftspeople whose businesses are off-site. These folks share in the services of the coop, including marketing, distribution, sales relationships, and eventually in the profit from the coop. Lastly are the consumers, an important piece of the puzzle. For them, the coop means that the more they shop with us the more they share the eventual profits.”

Being a producer member of Our Table means that Caravan has the chance to share coffee with a unique group of Oregonians. Cochrane says, “We love Caravan because the team really prioritizes that it’s about relationships throughout the entire supply chain. Our standards for a certified local brand say everything must be Oregon-source, but of course coffee can’t grow here. So with Caravan, we chose them because they prioritize the relationships with the growers of their coffee and have even visited the farms. They know how the workers are treated, which makes it much more justifiable to have coffee in our offerings.”

20141105_farm_stand_opening_8259Our Table’s widely diverse team members—Banducci has a Master’s from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in northern Italy, and Cochrane learned about Our Table when she was the buyer for a Portland grocery store—and the incredibly thoughtful planning that has gone into the coop set it apart, even if it weren’t already exceptional. Certified organic, with nine acres of blueberries that are sold wholesale and an 800 square foot retail store with 90% certified organic offerings, Our Table is growing rapidly. Still, says Banducci, “We don’t have a short-term vision. What we are doing is changing things up in the food chain and doing it in a way that really supports everyone who’s involved, instead of the conventional system that extracts all the value for the producers and hikes up prices for consumers. We are in this for the long game. Local food as an industry is growing quickly, attracting lots of entrepreneurs, but this model is much deeper than just another farm, restaurant, or food business. We are at our two-year anniversary, so we’re babies! It’s a big experiment… we’re excited to see the results ten year down the road!

The post Featured: Our Table appeared first on Caravan Coffee.


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