You know what’s amazing? We’re three years old, we’re debt free, and we got to raise our hourly wages from 100% volunteer powered to $10 per hour for EVERY HOUR WORKED. We’re hoping to raise pay to $12 per hour soon. What this means is that we’ve figured out how to a) produce our tofu and seitan in an economical and affordable way; b) keep our non-payroll costs low and controlled; and c) hang onto just enough funds to prepare for basic (non-catastrophic) disasters, taxes, and extra materials costs, and pay the rest of our income straight to our workers.
Part of what’s so important about this milestone is that we’re not here to make money. We believe that workers deserve fair compensation for the time that we put into things, and that we all deserve a living wage, regardless of what we’re doing. We also recognize that things cost money, and we need to have enough money to cover the costs that come up in life, like living in buildings and using water and electricity and eating food and transportation and stuff. But even though we aren’t interested in charging as much as we absolutely can and paying as little as we legally must, we can STILL pay better than starting wage than lots of other places.
Next step: providing two full time, well paid positions, and more awesome products to our community!
Well, somehow a WHOLE YEAR has gone by again, and we’re still here making tofu in a basement.
We got a vacuum sealer, which gave us the ability to support some more distribution channels. Even though some of our product is now packed in plastic, it’s still significantly less than the containers in the grocery store. It does give us the ability to offer retail-type packages, supply tofu to more CSAs, and extend our products’ shelf life.
We’ve also helped a couple of local businesses branch out and offer seitan to our communities in delicious recipes like the Hail Seitan tacos from the Silver Seed food truck. You can find them out and about by following them on Instagram or book them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, we’d like to welcome our newest worker to the group. Jesse is a trooper, an excellent worker, and we’re so happy to have her! Welcome, Jesse!
We can’t believe a year has passed already. We’ve learned a LOT, and we’re so excited for what the future holds!
In the past year, we:
1. Successfully raised over $6,000 to purchase equipment and supplies.
The big purchases were a hydraulic tofu press that can press 24 blocks at a time:
We also got our soymilk maker, affectionately nicknamed R2D2:
We’re lucky that our space starting out already has a kettle (40 gallon capacity) and a great walk-in cooler. We had to pick up some odds and ends, like bins to store finished tofu in, and buckets to soak beans, different buckets to catch fresh soymilk, and cheese cloths for straining.
We’re also very excited to be partnering with John Anderson (the Worm Guy) is able to take our okara, which is our largest “waste” product. Okara can be used for all kinds of products, but as we’re just starting out, we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin. So until we figure out what the Northern Colorado market for okara-based products might be, John’s worms will make the best of what we can’t yet use.
Learning to make tofu from raw materials is an adventure in experimentation, and we’re very lucky that groups like the SoyInfo Center have amassed so many resources for us to learn from. We’re also eternally grateful to Rainbow Restaurant for believing in us from the beginning – they are our first paying customer!
While we’re in the business of saying thank you, we are also so thankful for each and every one of the 125 supporters to our crowdfunding campaign, and to Avogadro’s Number for sharing their space with us so we could figure out what we’re doing!
Holy happy cats, we have a website! 😀