Northeast SARE Partnership Grant project explores producer cooperatives
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) recently released a case study of two long-standing producer marketing cooperatives. Over the course of more than two years as part of Northeast SARE Partnership Project ONE19-332, CISA provided in-depth support to Our Family Farms (OFF) and The Pioneer Valley Grower’s Association (PVGA), two cooperatives serving dozens of farms in western Massachusetts.
While co-ops can help farmers, farmers are essential to the functioning of their own co-ops… the resilience of the food system rests on the hard work of the people who work on farms.
CISA’s project demonstrates how the partnerships and principals that drive producer cooperatives around economies of scale – like bulk supply purchases and shared facilities – can also be leveraged for marketing and distribution.
“Agricultural marketing cooperatives allow their members to work together on key activities related to marketing and distribution, rather than fulfilling these activities individually or relinquishing their products to a non-farm distributor or processor.”
The report captures a specific moment in Northeast farmer history, detailing the impact of the pandemic and growing public investment in food systems, security, and access. With help from a Northeast SARE’s Partnership Grant, CISA provided valuable services to OFF and PVGA to address pre-existing needs and to respond to new opportunities.
“Marketing cooperatives can be a key component of farms’ success. During our work on this project, however, we were reminded that while co-ops can help farmers, farmers are essential to the functioning of their own co-ops… the resilience of the food system rests on the hard work of the people who work on farms.”
Read the Full Case Study
Learn more about Partnership Grants
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