Regional Agricultural Co-ops
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"Small family farms aren't the answer."

Source: Chris Newman

... Go to a big farmers market this weekend and have a look around. Each of those independent producers would tell you interesting stories: 80-hour (or more) workweeks, getting by without health insurance, paying employees next to nothing, and/or relying on volunteers, supplementing with outside jobs. Enduring broken marriages, worn-out bodies, social isolation, strained finances, emotional burnout.

These are the conditions my grandfather’s generation endured that convinced their children to get as far away from the farm as possible. The current and relatively young generation of back-to-the-landers, diving into an ocean of nostalgia for pearls that aren’t there, is setting the stage for a similar generational exit when their children come of age.

Unless, of course, we choose a different way.

Imagine all the producers at that market combining their acreage, expertise, supply chains, and financial resources into a co-op committed to producing food regeneratively, responsibly, and ethically. The results would be astonishing:

The point is, these farmers would no longer be alone. We’d present a united farmer-owned — this is key — interface to the rest of the world — suppliers, customers, landlords, regulators, media, etc. — that, at present, each farmer is left alone to handle. It’s that isolation that makes us weak and ineffective against incredibly well-resourced competition.

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