I Know Loose Carrots – How ONF Shapes Ripples

lift dripping fresh carrots onto scale
punch 4562 on the keypad
scoot them to the side
place in bag
take cash
share a laugh
say goodbye
say hello, i hope your day is well

In a sort of pseudo thick haiku, this captures my new days.  Thirty hours per week, and hopefully rising, I whisk, nudge, heft, and gingerly ferry products as small as my fingernail to as large as my torso across a scanner.  Last week alone, I assisted over 600 customers and rang up more than $21,000 in products.

Every dollar brings Ozark Natural Foods an inch closer to financial freedom.  As mandated by our board of directors, we are taking measures to ensure we pay off our building by October 2012.  At that point, prices store-wide are expected to drop, long overdue remodels can occur, and other forward-thinking projects will begin.

And I, the not-quite-newest cashier bringing them (us) closer beep by beep, will do everything I can to learn at a ferocious pace.  ONF feels like a large, scaled corollary to our journey; what inspiring, moving stories await me?  How will the courageous, against-the-grain decisions the ONF change-makers wrestle with define and refine our Ripples project?

Every day, I see loose carrots, muddy beet bunches, rippled kale leaves, bottles of probiotics, and house-made burritos; hear crazy stories and wacky jokes; share smiles and sincere stories about wild friends, choices, and fear of modern food practices.  Beneath it all, the day-to-day flow of a thriving culture, a greater journey—to redefine the ailing food system, to show that cooperative economics is more powerful than the status quo—emerges.

Just by existing and striving to improve, ONF makes a profound statement.  I sincerely hope Amanda and I, through Ripples, will have the courage, foresight, and tenacity to fuel our journey with the same level of dedication.

In five years, look us up in that earthbag cottage in the woods, surrounded by vibrant produce and acres of wild animal playground.  Every carrot, beet, or rutabaga I pull from the earth will remind me to pay homage to ONF, one of our greatest guides.


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