FAQs

Shopping & Delivery FAQ

What payment methods do you accept?


  • Credit/Debit, no American Express or Discover
  • EBT/Double Up Food Bucks
  • Prepaid Accounts (set up with cash, paypal or check)




How do I pay for my order?


Credit Card Payments Payments are processed on the Friday following distribution. If you have any credits in the market, those will be collected first and the remaining balance will be charged to the credit/debit card on file. EBT Payments Payments are collected when you get your order or after you get your order. Based on your pickup location or home delivery choice, we'll coordinate payment with you. DUFB Payments Double Up Food Bucks will be entered into your account as prepaid credits. You are permitted to match up to $20 spent with your EBT per order period in DUFB credits to be held in your account for future orders. We will apply DUFB credits to your order (only applicable for fruits and vegetables) after your order is confirmed, but before we deliver. Any reamaining balance will be applied to your EBT (at delivery), or to a credit/debit card (for non-EBT eligible items). Check, Cash, Paypal If you don't have any of the above payment abilities, please get in touch, we can arrange a check or paypal payment to set up a rechargable prepaid account for you.




Is there an Order Minimum to shop in the market?


We would like to be acessible to consumers of all scales while still covering our costs. Owners can shop at lower order minimums. See or current fees, minimums, and discounts here.




What if I don’t get everything I ordered?


Sometimes producers have sudden changes to their inventory due to weather or other unexpected events. Our systems ensure that you will not be charged for something you did not receive, even if it still shows up on your packing slip. If you think there may be a discrepancy, check your past purchases in your account by clicking Account Activity when logged in to the storefront login. Please don’t hesitate to contact support@patchworkalliance.com with questions or concerns about orders or payments.




Can I change pickup locations or switch between pickup and delivery?


Your profile will default to the location you chose at registration, but you can change your pickup and delivery options each time you place an order by selecting "Change Location" at checkout. You can also change your default location on the Account Information page of your profile. If you need help changing your pickup location, please email support@patchworkalliance.com




What if I forget to pick up my order at a pickup location?


We will call or text you towards the end of your pickup window to confirm your pickup. Staff will coordinate with you from there. Usually it is possible to get a late pickup. Unfortunately, unpicked up orders will be charged the full amount, but we will do our best to donate the items.




What do I do if I am unsatisfied with the product I received?


Please get in touch with support@patchworkalliance.com and let us know why you're dissatisfied. We will do our best to rectify the situation.




Do I have to become an owner in order to shop?


You do not have to be an owner to shop in the marketplace. Owners are entitled to special discounts, reduced or nullified fees, voting rights within the co-op, and profit shares (called "patronage refunds").




How do I shop with EBT and utilize Double Up Food Bucks?


Just fill out this form. We will then set up an account for you and you can start shopping! We will process EBT payment in person at your pickup location. Each time you shop with EBT, we will Double Up your Food Bucks (up to $20 per order period) by adding credits into your customer account. On the next ordering cycle we will apply those DUFB credits to any fruits and vegetables you order and charge the remaining balance to your EBT or credit/debit card when you get your order.




Why do you require a credit card when I want to shop with EBT? What if I don’t have a credit card?


If for some reason your EBT isn’t viable to pay for the order, we will need to charge an alternate payment method, such as a credit card. If you do not have a credit card, we may be able to make alternative arrangements. Please fill out this EBT signup form accordingly, and we’ll be in touch.




When is the market open for ordering?  And when will my order be delivered or ready for pickup?


The market is open between Thursday 9am and Monday 6pm. You can place and edit an order anytime in that timeframe. You can choose to pick up your order or opt for home delivery. Check out our pickup location times and home delivery options here





Ownership FAQ (Consumers, Producers, & Workers)

Why join a cooperative?


In short, you really do own it. Cooperative ownership builds community wealth and supports local businesses through resource sharing, transparency, and a common purpose. Cooperatives are owned and democratically controlled by those who utilize its services within the community. When you invest equity in a cooperative you are invited to share equally in the decision making of how the business operates through participation in governance by electing the board of directors who oversee the legal and fiduciary decision making for the business. Unlike investor-owned corporations where your voting power is proportional to the amount of time and money you’ve invested, voting power in a cooperative is equal among all members regardless of capital investment (one member=one vote.)




What does it mean to become an owner of Patchwork Alliance?


Patchwork is creating the platforms and venues for producers and shoppers across the region to connect more easily and effectively. Ownership in Patchwork Alliance is an investment in your local farming and artisan businesses & services. We are a Solidarity Cooperative in that our owners are consumers, producers, workers, or all three! This may seem like a conflict of interest in the surface, but we believe a structure like this is what will truly empower ourselves economically for a resillient future. We have come together to share resources among our community through creating a sales channel that is accessible and empowering for small businesses of any scale across the WNC region. Your investment and patronage allows greater access to a wide variety of goods and services in both directions.




How do I become an Owner of Patchwork Alliance (Consumers, Producers, and Workers)?


To start a payment plan or full payment, click here [LINK TO PAYMENT PLAN PAGE]




What practical benefits come with Cooperative Ownership of Patchwork Alliance?


Aside from the socially impactful benefits of Cooperatives, there are practical benefits too!

  • Owners gain benefits when shopping in the market. See our discounts and fees page for more info
  • One vote in all matters submitted to a vote of the membership, including Board of Directors elections.
  • Eligibility for patronage dividends. (A form of profit sharing following a profitable fiscal year.)
  • Right to run for an open seat on the Board of Directors or standing committees.
  • Right to attend annual or special meetings.
  • Right to attend open sessions of the Board of Directors.




Can I pause my monthly or annual Ownership payments?


Yes, you can take a break from making your monthly or annual equity payments at any time. You are not obligated to make ownership payments if you're not actively shopping the market, so if an equity payment comes up while you're not shopping you can just pick it up when you come back. If funds are tight at the time an ownership payment is up for renewal but you'd still like to shop, that's no problem either. In either case, when you are not current on ownership payments by at least one month, you are considered an "inactive owner." Inactive owners are welcome to continue shopping the storefront but will forego the additional member benefits (such as the discount or voting privileges) until they are ready to resume their equity payments. To suspend a payment plan ownership account click here.




Where can I find the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and Financial Budgets as an Owner?


Articles and Bylaws can be found here. Financial Budgets will be made available through email to all owners before the first Annual Meeting and all annual meetings following.




When/Where/What are Annual Meetings?


We will hold an Annual Meeting of the owners after the close of each fiscal year, December 31st, and after all financial reports have been received and reviewed by the Board of Directors. The purposes of the meeting will be to hear reports on operations and finances, to elect the Board of Directors, and to conduct any other business that may properly come before the meeting of the owners. As an owner you have the right to bring business pertaining to the cooperative to the meeting. See the By-laws and Charter for the process.




How can I get involved with Patchwork Steering Committee or other circles of governance?


We want all ownership types involved in governance, representation and decision making. Consumer Owners, this means you too! If you would like to contribute your time on a volunteer basis, please fill out this volunteer form. In it, you will find the various ways volunteers can get involved. If you are interested in Work Trade or Worker Ownership, fill out this worker application. We have specific job postings available periodically which you'll find in the application. Or just express your general interest and we'll be in touch when opportunities arise.





Producers FAQ

Who is eligible to sell in this market?


Any producer or service provider who produces the goods or services they are selling.




How do I start selling through Patchwork?


1. Fill out this form. We’ll set up an account for you and send you instructions for how to finish setting it up. 2. In the meantime, take a look at the Producer Page Management Guide. The guide will walk you through what it will take to post products, adjust prices, and change imagery on your producer page. If this seems too difficult for you, please let us know! We can help and/or pair you with another producer to manage your page for you. 3. You can start selling as soon as your account is set up and we have all your settings configured according to your needs.




Can you manage my producer page for me?


Yes, we can manage your page for a fee. We can also try to connect you with other producers to be your online market “buddy.” Please don’t hesitate to email us to ask about how this could work. We will determine fees based on your needs and potential sales.




What if I want to take an amount of time off from selling?


You can set your profile to “on vacation” whenever you want to pause your sales.




How do I know what I sold for the week (Pick List)?


At the end of the ordering cycle, you will get an email Pick List including all items sold to be delivered that week.




Are there any fees or commissions associated with using the market?


NOTE: As of Jan 2021, we set our final commission rate of 22% based on feedback from current and potential producers. This commission is subject to change based on continuing feedback from Producer Owners in conjunction with financial planning. Here's how we're planning to have pricing and commissions work in 2021 :

  • You set the retail price you want the customer to see.
  • When Patchwork pays you out on a bi-weekly basis, Patchwork will keep a 22% commission and pay you out the rest.
By having producers set the final customer price and then paying a commission out of that price, we hope to improve producer consciousness of how price perception affects the overall market. We are aiming for the commission to cover these costs:
  • marketing costs, including costs associated with discounts, promotions
  • consumer relations/administration
  • online market software subscription
  • producer relations/administration




What is the market schedule?  What are my responsibilities as an active producer in the market?


The market opens for sales Thursday mornings. Before Thursday 9am - Your product lines are updated and accurate prior to opening. The market closes sales on Monday evenings at 6pm. Monday evening - You will get a pick ticket to find out what you need to prep for aggregation Aggregation Tuesdays or Wednesdays - Producers deliver their product to their assigned aggregation channel.




How do I get my products sold delivered to Patchwork (Aggregation)?


At the end of the sales cycle, producers who have sold items bring their products to an Aggregation point. Our main aggregation hub is Pearson Garden in Montford. This is where all the products end up before packing and distribution on Thursdays. We also have “sub-aggregation points” (where a few producers pool their products to share the delivery responsibility to Montford) Currently we are also picking up from producers on Tuesday or Wednesday at markets in Asheville and Weaverville (RAD, WAVL tailgate, Weaverville tailgate). We also have a sub aggregation point going in West Asheville. Please inquire about sub aggregation options. When we set you up as a Producer we will explore your aggregation options with you. We aim to affect all of WNC, so we are constantly creating and implementing new solutions to meet aggregation needs.




How and when do I get paid for my sales through the market (Payout)?


Schedule: Payment Cycle - Fridays - Every 2 weeks Sales are a direct sale from producer to customer. Patchwork only handles the payment processing, marketing, and distribution and pays producers out for Product Sales. Product Sales consist of the total Units Sold, at Unit Price. Schedule Payment Cycle - Every two weeks (on a Friday) you will be paid for the previous two weeks. Payout Options We will set up your payment preferences when we set up your account. Payout Option 1: Get paid out by check or Paypal automatically at the end of each payout cycle (every other Friday). Payout Option 2: You can allocate your payout to a combination of using your sales to shop in the market, investing in your equity ownership (capital account), and/or getting paid out by check or Paypal.




Are there packing and labelling standards I need to follow for delivery to my aggregation point?


Labeling systems are important for our packing system to run smoothly. All producers will need to follow a certain labeling protocol based on their product type. We will go over this with you when we’re setting up your profile.




What can I do if my product quality was not as expected and I want to give a discount or offer a substitution to the customer?


If products are not up to your standards you can just email us to let us know you will not be delivering it, or we will be in touch if there is questionable product quality after receiving it to determine if it should be distributed or not. We cannot facilitate substitutions at this time. We will just cancel that part of the order so the customer is not charged.




What if a customer is unsatisfied with a product and is asking for a refund?


We will get in touch with you about any complaints regarding your product and determine the refund with you in the conversation.




What if I repeatedly fail to come through with my pick list items?


We can support producers with strategies to predict availability. Please ask for help if you need it. Producers with shelf stable inventory should always set aside the inventory they have online and adjust their inventory immediately if a sale was made outside the market. Chronic order cancellations reflect poorly on the market as a whole and administration becomes a drain on our systems, so our member relations team will determine if they need to charge a fee for repeated and preventable changes to orders after the ordering cycle ends.




Can I change my aggregation location week to week?


Yes, you can. From the producer page, go to settings, logistics, and choose an aggregation option from the drop down menu.




How do I login to my Producer Page?


If you already have a producer account set up, you can login here. If not, please fill out this form to get started!




How does Producer Ownership Work?


We think it's important to create this market so Producers actually OWN the market alongside Consumers and Workers. All ownership stakes are the same investment, there are just different paths to becoming an owner. Please see the Ownership FAQ for all questions regarding Ownership.




Why is it important to vend through Patchwork Alliance?


We are working to make the groundwork for an interconnected network of producers, consumers, and workers in order to increase our economic sovereignty. We aim to reach producers and consumers all over WNC no matter what scale of production. By vending in the market, you'll be part of a network of producers where the possiblities for cooperative crop planning, cooperative product transport, and cooperative production can take place. We aim to incorporate alternate currency, and other innovations in order to achieve true economic sovereignty in our area.




How do I shop the market?


When you join Patchwork as a Producer you are automatically set up with a customer account. The primary differences are that Producers enjoy deeper discounts to shop for products from their fellow famers and artisans, and can use their sales earnings to shop in the form of credits. Unless you tell us otherwise, we will use credits from your sales to pay for your orders before charging your credit/debit card to cover any remaining balance (yes, everyone who shops has to have a card on file.) Please see the Ownership & Shopping FAQs for additional details, or email support@patchworkalliance.com for questions about ordering or ownership.




Where can I find in depth information on Vending and Producer-Ownership?


Here is the Producer's handbook. Please note, this is a living document, and is subject to change.





Workers FAQ

What types of work is there to do with Patchwork?


We have positions in the following categories: Coming Soon




How does Worker Ownership work and how do I apply?


We think it's important to create this market so Workers actually OWN the market alongside Consumers and Producers. All ownership stakes are the same investment, there are just different paths to becoming an owner. Please see the Ownership FAQ for all questions regarding Ownership. To apply for a position with Patchwork please fill out this form.




How is Worker time/mileage accounted for, and how are Workers paid?


Workers carry a customer account in the online market. Workers keep a time/mileage log and fill out this form weekly. Our Accounts Payable team then enters credits in the Worker's customer account. Based on the desires of the worker, they can choose to use credits to invest in equity stakes, use to shop, or get paid by check or paypal. Payouts occur on a two week cycle. We'll share more details about this system when you join the team as a Worker.





CONTACT US:

 

support@patchworkalliance.com

575-519-9962

Address: Asheville, NC 28801

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