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BEST OF OKL


Ultimately, the membership approved the third option, and a na- tionwide search resulted in the Carnegie Co-op spending $3.5 million on a refurbished gin in Mount Olive, North Carolina. In June, the equipment and machinery needed to rebuild the 45-bale-per-hour gin began appearing at an 80-acre site 4 miles north of Carnegie on Oklahoma Highway 58. Much of the preparation and rebuilding is being done by Carnegie


Co-op employees, and the target date to open the facility is by mid-November.


In addition, the Carnegie Co-op will continue to use its older facil- ity in the foreseeable future. That combination prompts projections for 2017 to rise by 50 to 100 percent. Cotton isn’t the only product milled or ginned in Carnegie, where rural electric service is provided by CKenergy Electric Cooperative Inc. Carnegie Cotton Gin partners with other co-ops, which is one of the Rochdale Principles, “Cooperation Among Cooperatives.” “In our co-op, we gin cotton and we mill wheat and peanuts, and we are a service station,” Hileman said. “We work with Plains Cotton Cooperative Association in Altus where we warehouse, and that’s been a huge improvement.” They use Farmers Cooperative Mill & Elevator and all of the cotton gin cooperatives do business with Producers Cooperative Oil Mill. “Our co-op has 200 to 300 members who are cotton farmers, and cooperative-wide there are about 1,000 members, which includes some producers and landlords.” Rural electric and cotton gin cooperatives are prominent in


Oklahoma, and so are food co-ops and food banks. One of the largest such entities is the Oklahoma Food Co-op (OFC)


in Oklahoma City. “We’re categorized as a cooperative business in the co-op model,”


said Adam Price, who started out as a member in 2008, before becom- ing the co-op manager. The only paid employee of the Oklahoma Food Co-op, Price noted,


“We’re not a non-profi t, but we do see ourselves more as a service than a business.” The co-op services 45 to 50 pick-up locations across the state. They have 300 to 350 active members and 9,000 total members on their books. Folks interested in fresh food and other items produced in


Oklahoma can become lifetime OFC members for a one-time fee of $51.75. That gives them access to the co-op’s shopping network. Once the patron signs up for a free access account, they can start ordering from a seemingly endless catalogue of food and non-food items. Early each month, members go online to pre-order. Then on the


third Thursday of the month, farmers, ranchers and other producers— many of whom are rural electric co-op members—bring their product to OFC for distribution. All of the distribution is home delivery done by volunteers. “Our distribution service is ‘farm to table’ in the purest sense,” Price


said. “Since 2003, we’ve sold millions of dollars of food and other items. “We were the fi rst food co-op in the country to sell only locally grown and made food, and other items, and we’ve returned millions of dollars to the state’s economy.” For information on the Oklahoma Food Co-op, contact Price at 405-605-8088 or visit the website, www.oklahomafood.coop.


Best Date Night Restaurant Best Place to Give Back Best-Kept Secret Most Beautiful Town Best Oklahoma TV Personality Best Construction Company Best Chicken-Fried Steak Best International Cuisine


TO VOTE BY MAIL, Send your ballot to: Best of Oklahoma Living


P.O. Box 54309, OKC, OK 73154-1309


NAME: PHONE: ADDRESS: CITY, STATE, ZIP: EMAIL: COOPERATIVE:


Ballots MUST be submitted by November 4, 2017. Only one entry per person. Entries must include Oklahoma places, businesses, or people. Fill in the blanks on at least FOUR categories to be eligible to win one of three $50 gift cards. Prize winners will be selected by random drawing. Submit online for free at www.okl.coop/contests


OCTOBER 2017 23


CHOICE WIN $50


READERS’ CONTEST


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