How to purchase:
About Birdhouse Buying Club!
As some of you may have heard, and if you’ve been reading the emails, you know that Birdhouse is going on an indefinite hiatus. Below you’ll find a brief explanation of the reasoning and the next steps for Birdhouse and local food in Tampa.
First off, we want to thank you: our customers, members, chefs, community at large, and our growers. Without y’all, local food wouldn’t even be on the map in the Tampa Bay area. It’s been a true pleasure to work with you and serve you.
Due to several factors, we’ve decided to take a step back and reassess our place in the local food community. Among other things, we want to ensure that we’re providing a useful service that doesn’t draw business away from other local outlets. Though there are many successes to claim for the buying club, there is still a steep road ahead for local food. Our system in Florida, from the farm to your table, is still very young and fragile. Another challenge the buying club faces is the massive commitment of time and finances required to build a true cooperative. A cooperative needs financial and human resources to secure leases and insurance, purchase equipment, trucks, and fuel, and pay wages. Developing these resources is a long and involved process which the buying club is not yet prepared to undertake.
Although we will not be moving forward right now with plans to continue Birdhouse or develop a cooperative, we are still interested in continuing to work towards improving access to local food in the Bay Area. Please see the following sections for some of the steps we’re taking as we suspend operations:
Birdhouse Survey and Final Potluck
Many of you have donated time and resources to the buying club, and we hugely appreciate your involvement. We also greatly appreciate your dedication as purchaser and growers to the goal of developing the Tampa Bay local food ecosystem. While the buying club’s operations will be suspended, we are all still dedicated to this goal. We have developed a survey to collect your input on how well the buying club met your local food needs and what efforts may meet your needs moving forward. All responses in this survey are completely anonymous. There is the potential for better achieving our ideals and meeting the needs of the community in the future. Your feedback will help us figure out if and how that is possible for us. We invite all members, growers, and interested parties to take the survey.
In the coming month, Birdhouse will host a final potluck at which we can discuss further your interest in and goals for developing access to local food. We will provide date and location information once the potluck has been scheduled.
If you still believe in a cooperative system, please let us know and take the survey, but more importantly, come out to the potluck to figure out what everyone wants and can do from here.
If you purchased the $25 membership within the last year in anticipation of the buying club developing into a cooperative, we would like to offer you a full reimbursement. Please respond to this email, and we will coordinate reimbursing you for the membership.
Other Local Food Sources
In the meanwhile, we encourage you to check out these awesome spots for local and/or organic food:
Twilight Market at the Roosevelt 2.0 in Ybor (Tuesday nights from 5-10PM)
Tampa Bay Organics
The Tampa Farmers Markets
and, of course, our many farms around the county.
Please also check out these local restaurants, which have bought or are currently buying local food:
Ella’s Folk Art Americana Cafe
The Mermaid Tavern
Cigar City Brewpub
Trang Viet Cuisine
The Corner Store in Plant City
Reservations to Go
and there’s probably more now!
Again, thank you to all those who have helped along the way, from the Awesome Foundation, to Famous Tates, to Ella’s restaurant and of course all the members and growers for believing in this project. If you don’t want to see the Cooperative movement end, then don’t let it! Take the survey, reply to this email with any questions or comments, and join us for a potluck! We look forward to engaging with you around our shared passion for local food.
All the best!
Birdhouse Buying Club.
Click here for the Survey
Birdhouse connects urban and rural farmers and growers directly with Birdhouse members and customers by providing a market to organize and distribute the freshest seasonal locally grown food.
Birdhouse’s food is sourced from the greater Tampa Bay area and from around the state. While a number of regional farms use conventional practices, Birdhouse recognizes that the region includes many farmers who use sustainable, organic and or otherwise best management practices (BMP) but are not USDA certified.
Birdhouse’s long-term goal is to develop a regional transparency mechanism that will enable fairness and accountability for growers and farmers working with the Birdhouse co-operative.
Our Mission is to grow into a transparent, sovereign and democratically managed food co-operative that offers affordable, nutrient-dense, and fresh local and regional produce.
We envision a marketplace where farmers from around the state and our immediate counties can unite around affordability and health with customers and members from every cultural, socio-economic, and political background.
If you identify with our mission, become a member and help us provide affordable, healthy, and sustainable food to citizens of every part of Tampa Bay.