I met April Harrington in 2003 at one of the first meetings to explore the possibilities that led to the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. Later, when we were in critical need of a treasurer to get our dis-organized finances into shape, April stepped forward and literally saved our bacon, and our hamburger, and our produce, and our non-food items, and our. . . well, you get the idea. Without her timely and expert intervention, I am not at all sure that we would have survived to the present time.
As the fortunes of time, politics, and government bureaucracy have turned, April’s innovative Market Bakery business – an enterpreneurial effort that is an essential aspect of the growing local food systems here in Oklahoma – is at risk of going away forever. No business can survive without capital and assets, and the State is about to take April’s productive assets – her bakery – to widen a road and leave her with almost nothing to go forward.
This whole travesty is monstrously unfair and unjust and it would be nice if things were otherwise, but they are not. That’s the way of the world these days.
One of the critical needs for local food systems in Oklahoma is a system of finance for local food producers. Frankly, we need our own credit union or some other kind of investment/venture capital system, but it is going to take time to get something like that going, and April’s need is now, not a year or two in the future. In her own determined and creative way, however, she has found some options to run with, and I invite us all to run with her towards a more just, sustainable, and economically viable future for all of us, united together as a mutual system of support and assistance.
I intend to make a generous pledge of my own funds for April’s http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/320205243/earth-elements-local-food-community-kitchen campaign (see April's message below for more details about this), so she can rebuild her bakery. The amount the state is offering for her property won't even pay off the mortgage, much less build a new bakery, and it doesn't even match the appraised value. This is an injustice done by the state in our name, and I invite everyone to reject this injustice by supporting April in her time of need. Please join with me in making a pledge to save the Market-Bakery. I know times are tough right now, and people have many demands on their generosity, but this one is important, it is critically important. No one need bet the farm on this, but small donations from many people will save the bakery. Please tell your friends!
Thank you for your generosity. It may be a cliche, but it is certainly true to say that united we will stand, divided we will fall.
Bob Waldrop, one of the founders of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative
A MESSAGE FROM APRIL HARRINGTON and the EARTH ELEMENTS MARKET-BAKERY.
Since announcing our controversy with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, we have been overwhelmed by the many expressions of concern and support that we have received. We are very grateful for this out-pouring of love and help.
I wish I had good news to announce about our relocation problem, but I don’t. ODOT continues to make low-ball offers that would not even be enough to pay off the mortgage on the existing building, much less build a new one. That’s the system, that’s the way it works. While my attorneys continue to fight on behalf of the Earth Elements Market Bakery community – which includes not only myself, but also my employees, the other food entrepreneurs which use this building for their own economic activities, the farmers and ranchers whose wondrous food products I use, and my many customers who enjoy the foods we produce – I have decided that I must seek other options to keep this enterprise going. I have fought too hard to get where I am now to let the State kick me into bankruptcy for the sake of a road-widening project.
I have found two innovative options going forward. The first is a long-shot, the second is more likely to produce results.
The Pepsi Refresh Campaign gives money for projects based on votes received online. A new campaign begins October 1st, and people can help me win $50,000 to rebuild the bakery by simply voting online. Each person can vote every day, and voting is free. The website is http://www.refresheverything.com/oklahomacommunitykitchen. Please go to the website every day in October 1st and vote for Earth Elements throughout the campaign, and tell your friends.
Kickstarter.com is an innovative web site that helps entrepreneurs and musicians and innovative people of all kinds to raise money for their projects. People can pledge a donation to a specific project, which is due when the project is fully funded. Donations at various levels (starting at $20) will receive rewards from the Market-Bakery. My project goal is $25,000, although I hope it will be over-funded and reach $30,000.
This will be enough to build a new Market-Bakery on my land next to the present site.
Each donation to the Earth Elements Market Bakery fund through the kickstarter.com website should be considered an investment in the food security of everyone in this state. Please go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/320205243/earth-elements-local-food-community-kitchen and make a pledge today, to help me Save the Market-Bakery.