The Oklahoma Food Cooperative

My good friend Robert Waldrop is what I call a "practical" distributist; he doesn't merely talk it, he practices it. And he practices it in a big way, as is appropriate for a man of his Chestertonian girth. Robert, a former libertarian firebrand, discovered the Catholic Church and distributism as means more likely to advance true human liberty and happiness. But it wasn't enough for him to hold some abstract ideals; he has to live them. He founded the Oscar Romero Catholic Workers House in Oklahoma City, works as a music minister in a Church, and, in his spare time, founded and runs the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. Distributism is about given folks the means to make their own living without depending on either the Nanny State or the Big Brother corporation. But this requires that people have markets for their goods; a place where buyers and sellers can connect. So Robert provides one. The Cooperative sells over 2,000 products from local producers. From a small beginning, the cooperative now sells over $40,000 a month of locally produced organic foods and other products.

And the cooperative is still growing. Over the past three years, the cooperative has developed innovative software for coordinating the buyers and sellers throughout the state, software which he provides for free to other cooperative. Moreover, he has helped other cooperatives get started in other states. You can learn more about the cooperative at its website. You can also see a recent newscast about the coop, complete with video of Bob and his volunteers on market day.

Throughout its history, Distributism has been blessed with people who were not just "hearers of the word," but doers as well, and Robert Waldrop is certainly a doer.


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