Name and location
Definition of membership
Delivery of food
Shortages and price fluctuations
The co-op is officially named the Austin Raw Feeders' Coop, or ARF Co-op. We are centered in Austin, Texas, and serve the Austin metropolitan area (Travis, Bastrop, Hays, and Williamson counties) and surrounding satellite cities not currently served by a co-op. If you live within reasonable driving distance to Austin (i.e., you can easily drive into Austin on a weekday evening) and do not have a cooperative source of natural food for your pets, you are welcome to join us. If you are interested in starting a co-op in your area, contact us and we will be happy to assist you in whatever way we can.
The co-op does not have commercial office space, cold storage, or a post office box. The
co-op Membership Coordinator accepts mail and other notices at her residence on behalf of the co-op. This physical
address is available
The mission of ARF Co-op is to use members' collective economic
power to make providing a natural, fresh foods diet for their pets an
affordable option. Our mission is also to educate and inform our
membership about the health benefits of a natural diet for
their pets, and provide support and resources for those interested in
doing so. We support the co-op's non-profit status and spirit of sharing
ARF Co-op is open to anyone who supports
feeding a healthy, natural diet to their pets, is willing to abide by the
co-op policies, and has a desire to actively participate in the co-op. All
members need to be familiar with co-op policies and expectations for
ARF Co-op will not discriminate against any person with regard to race, national origin,
religion, gender, sexual orientation, religious preference, political preference, cultural background, disability, or
We reserve the right to deny membership to anyone who does not demonstrate a
willingness to abide by our Policies or act in a spirit of cooperation. We also reserve the right to terminate
privileges for anyone who does not abide by these Policies.
As an unincorporated non-profit association, the co-op is governed by a board of
directors comprised of co-op members. Every member of the board is a voting member and contributes equally to
making decisions regarding the co-op's governance. The board meets once a month. Meeting notes are posted to the
membership mailing list.
The ARF Co-op Board of Directors consists
Jessica Efe Foster
Stephanie Strand Reed
In addition to contributing membership on the board, some coop members also perform additional duties to help
the coop function successfully. These include the following:
Coordinators: Louisa Chandler and Stephanie Bowers
The Data Coordinator is the co-op's
comptroller. She collects and organizes statistics from every order we place, including the amount paid to the
supplier, the total pounds ordered, and which members ordered. She also tracks any issues that may arise with the
orders. We use this collected information to monitor our growth, allocate resources, and negotiate the best value
Co-op Membership Coordinator: Mairi Reyer
Coordinator reviews and admits new members, answers questions from potential members regarding membership, and
answers correspondence sent to the general board or coop manager email address.
Co-op Volunteer Coordinator: Jenella Herring
The Volunteer Coordinator assigns new members volunteer assignments and owns and updates the
Ordering Calendar. She tracks successful completion of volunteer commitments
in the coop's main database and works closely with the Membership Coordinator and Data
Coordinator, as well as checking in with site hosts and order coordinators to make sure all
volunteers arrived at their assignments and delivery and pickup went smoothly.
Co-op Supplier Coordinator: Mairi Reyer
Co-op Education Coordinator: Britta Kresse
Co-op Social Coordinator: Adam Blanton
In addition to the board, we also have several coop members who function
as order coordinators and permanent order collectors. Their assistance and
expertise is invaluable in making our monthly ordering go smoothly.
The co-op's supplier coordinator and board members are the only
authorized to conduct any business on behalf of the co-op. (Order
collectors and coordinators are not authorized to conduct coop
business.) This includes contacting and coordinating with suppliers,
placing orders, and handling monetary transactions, unless specific, prior
authorization has been granted, as is the case with some order collectors.
Anyone other than a member of the board who interferes with the co-op's
on behalf of the co-op will have their membership privileges immediately revoked.
You are considered a member of the co-op after you join the membership mailing list,
put your contact information on file in our Yahoo Group database, and contact our Volunteer Coordinator to sign up for
fulfilling your volunteer commitment. All of our orders are pre-paid via PayPal or check, depending on the
supplier and site host. Failure to register in the Yahoo Group database or with the Volunteer Coordinator within the
first two weeks of membership will result in your removal from the membership mailing list.
To join the co-op, do the following:
Send a subscription request to our mailing list,
ARFCoopemail@example.com. NOTE THAT WE ADMIT NEW MEMBERS DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF EACH MONTH ONLY. If you
submit a membership request after the first week of the month, you will be admitted during the following month.
You will receive a subscription request questionnaire. Complete the
questionnaire. You must also read through (and acknowledge having read) these Policies. Once you have read
the Policies and returned the questionnaire, your membership request for our Yahoo Group will be
processed and approved. You will receive a welcome letter and the New Member
Information Packet from the Membership Coordinator. If you do not follow these instructions, you will not
When your mailing list membership has been approved, place your local
contact information in the member database in the Database section of our Yahoo Group and let the
Membership Coordinator know you have done so. You
will not be able to place orders without this information on file. You will be able to see
what items we have available for purchase and their prices in the Files section of our Yahoo Group at this
well as the Ordering Calendar listed there.
Contact Jenella Herring, our Volunteer
Coordinator, to sign up to
fulfill your volunteer requirements. Jenella's information will be
included in the New Member Information Packet
you receive. You MUST volunteer to be a member in good standing of the coop, and there are many
different ways you can fulfill this commitment. If you do not register in the database and
contact Jenella within two weeks of joining, your membership will be revoked.
Send mail to the membership list introducing yourself! Let us know where in Austin or the metro area you're located (this makes it easier to find "co-op buddies"), how many pets you have, how long you've been feeding a natural diet, etc. Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Suppliers who are interested in selling to the co-op are not permitted to join
the co-op's mailing list directly. If you are interested in selling your product to the co-op, please
contact the Board of Directors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an unincorporated non-profit association, ARF Co-op functions according to appropriate Texas law. Co-op members:
may not purchase food through the co-op and offer it for resale to anyone
may not take food from an order delivery site which does not belong to them
may not order food that they do not pay for
may not order food that they do not pick up at the
Members violating these rules will have all membership privileges revoked.
Since everyone involved in the co-op is a VOLUNTEER,
we expect everyone to be considerate and polite at all times. Absolutely no rude, threatening, or
otherwise-harrassing behavior will be tolerated. Failure to maintain polite behavior either on the
membership list or at delivery sites will result in membership privileges being partially or wholly
revoked. Site hosts reserve the right to refuse pick-up privileges to anyone who abuses their
We may also revoke membership privileges for failing to fulfill a confirmed volunteer duty, failure
to arrive to collect food during the order pick-up window, or other non-cooperative or rude behavior.
Members who are wholly absent from the order pick-up window time forfeit their food
to the site host, who may return it (or not) at their discretion.
Members pledge to volunteer in the cooperative spirit to
help ARF Co-op achieve our goals of purchasing and distributing affordable raw food and educating our
membership and the public
about a healthy, natural diet for pets. There are many jobs within the co-op that need to be filled
on a regular basis. To be considered a member in good standing, you need to volunteer for at least
two jobs per year. That's two volunteer commitments every twelve months.
minimum is subject to change as our size and work needs change.
Volunteer commitments for each year are
scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis at the end of the coop's calendar year in November, when the
next year's Ordering Calendar is published. Members with standing volunteer commitments are given the first
opportunity to renew those commitments, and then all remaining positions are opened to the entire coop. Members
admitted after the next year's Ordering Calendar has been published
are able to sign up for remaining positions on a first-come, first-served basis.
Volunteering is easy and there is a way to volunteer that meets just about everyone's schedule and lifestyle constraints, including the following opportunities:
Physical volunteer commitments
Serving as a site host
Serving on the board of directors
Serving as a site assistant
Serving as a satellite driver
Electronic volunteer commitments
Researching suppliers for the co-op board
Serving as a new member mentor, answering questions
from new members and helping them get started ordering
Serving as a Buddy's order coordinator
Serving as an order collector
Developing and contributing content for our Web site
Helping plan and/or host a co-op social or dog park play day
When you have decided on a particular opportunity to volunteer for,
contact the co-op Volunteer Coordinator to sign up. Not every position will be available at any given time.
Generally, new members have no trouble finding positions that meet both their needs and the needs of the coop, and
the Volunteer Coordinator will help you select something that works for you.
The Files section of our Yahoo Group contains the
yearly Ordering Calendar as well as a list of our suppliers, their products, prices, and Web site if
available. We also have our Yahoo Calendar set up to announce the beginning and ending of each ordering
period for suppliers. Refer to the New Member Information Packet you received when joining for detailed
instructions on how and when
to order from each supplier.
We are moving all of our suppliers to online shopping carts for our members' convenience and hope to have this
project completed in 2011. Suppliers who are not
yet in the cart system have Excel ordering spreadsheets or email templates that we use.
We currently order from 8 suppliers and more are in the
works. You can see a list of the kinds of items we buy and the prices we pay on the Products and Prices page.
IMPORTANT: Loose dogs at delivery sites are not permitted. If you must bring your dog with you to a delivery site, it should remain in your vehicle, be contained in a crate, or be leashed and under your control. Children must also remain under your supervision at all times.
In order for ARF Co-op to run smoothly, your volunteer participation
is essential. We have no commercial cold storage available for rent in Austin, so all food is
delivered to an individual volunteer member's house or place of business, either by a shipping company, a
refrigerated truck, the supplier themselves, or by the
member meeting the supplier's truck at another location and bringing the food back for disbursal to the rest of the
co-op that day. It's extremely important that everyone who orders food comes to get it the day it is delivered,
because the co-op has nowhere to properly store unclaimed food. Eventually, Austin may have cold storage and the
co-op may provide other options, but right now this is the way we have to operate.
We usually know when suppliers will be delivering food and can give exact dates for some suppliers and a reliable range of days for others. However, sometimes suppliers are early or late. When unexpected things occur with the delivery time and date, it is still your responsibility to pick up your food on the day it arrives, even if you are busy or have made other plans. Obviously, if a medical emergency intervenes, we'll help you make other arrangements.
We keep a contact database of everyone in the co-op that you can use to find a "co-op buddy" in your area to share/alternate pick-up duties with so that it is easier for everyone to be flexible. We also hold semi-regular socials where you can meet other co-op members. In general, if you have a known conflict with a delivery date (or even a relatively late-breaking conflict) and make an effort to communicate with other co-op members by e-mail and telephone about that ahead of time, someone should be able to help you.
We call members who volunteer to accept delivery of food at their house site hosts. They have helpers for most deliveries (also volunteers) who are the site assistants. Site assistants help the site host parcel out the order, assist with accounting, and keep things running smoothly for the site host. Their help is invaluable!
When you come to pick up food, it is your responsibility to work with the site host and site assistant to separate your order, if it has not already been separated. You may not leave the delivery location with your food before checking out with the site host. If you do, or if you take food that does not belong to you, you will be removed from the co-op. You can also be removed from the co-op for mistreating the site host or site assistants.
If you do not come to get your
food within the window of delivery time specified by the site host and you
do not call, e-mail, or otherwise communicate with the host regarding your
emergency, your order will be forfeited to the site host in its entirety.
(The host may then determine what to do with your food as they see fit,
including keeping it.) You must have a legitimate EMERGENCY to excuse
failure to pick up food ordered--not checking your e-mail or
not knowing the time and place of the delivery is not an emergency and not
If an order arrives unexpectedly EARLY, the site host, site assistant, or a member of the board of
directors will call members who ordered to let them know. This is the only circumstance where members
will receive a phone call about an order delivery. All other communication regarding orders is conducted
Sometimes, we are shorted by suppliers. This happens inevitably and seems to be a vagary of the food industry--even grocery stores are occasionally shorted. There is usually no way to know in advance whether or not this will happen until the order arrives, though with some suppliers we do know in advance, and we will announce the shortage on the co-op mailing list. When a shortage happens, the site host will take his or her entire order first if it includes items that have been shorted, and the remainder of the shorted items will be distributed evenly and equitably among the other co-op members who ordered the items. Failure to comply with this shortage policy will result in your being unable to order from that supplier again, or being barred from pick-up from that site host's location.
Also, some product prices do fluctuate based on the market. Usually price fluctuations are not very great, but occasionally items we purchase may prove to be slightly more expensive (or less expensive) than the we thought. Order collectors make every effort to confirm prices at the time we place the order, but periodically you may find you owe a little more or less than you expected for your case of food. This usually only applies to one or two suppliers.