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Going Mobile: Co-ops operate traveling slaughter units to help grow local foods movement

Puget Sound Meat Producers Cooperative was founded because small livestock producers' livelihoods were threatened by having to travel long distances to slaughterhouses. The Washington based slaughter unit operates at three venues on a weekly or semi-weekly schedule.

[Note: the following is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared in the November/December issue of Rural Cooperatives, a magazine published by USDA Rural Development]

Puget Sound Meat Producers Cooperative has been operating for just over a year, with a roll of 60 voting members in nine contiguous counties, and another 30 associate members. Read more »

Detroit’s Eastern Market: A Food Hub in a Food Desert

Shed Two at Detroit’s Eastern Market

Look up Wayne County, Michigan, home to Detroit, in USDA’s Food Environment Atlas and it is obvious that local residents have some significant challenges in accessing healthful food.  An alarmingly high number of households that lack a car in Wayne County are located further than one mile from the closest grocery store, meaning that many families struggle to get access to fresh and healthy food.  Indeed, the closure of two supermarkets in 2007 left Detroit as the largest city in the country without a single full-service supermarket within its boundaries. Read more »

Oklahoma Food Co-Op: From Buying Club to Food Hub

Oklahoma Food Co-op’s distribution range

One afternoon in the fall of 2003, 36 consumers and several volunteers gathered in the basement of an Oklahoma City church to sort and purchase products from twenty local producers.  They generated $3,500 in sales, and the opening day of the Oklahoma Food Coop (OFC) was determined to have been a great success. Read more »

Hillside Farmers Co-op Awarded Grant to Develop Latino-Owned Poultry Production

Hillside Farmers Co-op in Minnesota is helping Latino farmers plan farm businesses and cooperatively market pastured poultry and other products.

The Hillside Farmers Co-op has some big goals for Latino farmers in southeastern Minnesota. With the help of a Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant (SSDPG) from USDA’s Rural Development, Hillside Farmers Co-op has taken another step toward reaching some of those goals. Read more »

Thanksgiving

My family spent Thanksgiving morning at the D.C. Central Kitchen, where we helped prepare dinners for the homeless and needy in our nation’s capitol.  While some might describe our act as ‘giving to others,’ truth is that it was a gift to us.  I want my children, aged 10 and 11, to understand that not everyone has what they do and that we need to care about others and serve our community.  We all had a blast, by the way, and it made this Thanksgiving one of the best ever!

This is not a soup kitchen, but a centralized kitchen facility that prepares around 4,000 meals daily which are delivered by a fleet of trucks to partner agencies like homeless shelters, rehabilitation clinics, and after school programs.  Read more »

North Carolina Builds Its Local Food Economy

From Farm to Fork: A Guide to Building North Carolina’s Sustainable Local Food Economy provides a model for other states and municipalities to copy the local foods progress in North Carolina.

A team of industry and university leaders from North Carolina visited USDA recently to tell us about their work in building a stronger statewide local food system. Nancy Creamer of North Carolina State University, John O’Sullivan and Shorlette Ammons of North Carolina A&T State University, and Cheryl Queen of Compass Group North America are all involved in various ways in the leadership of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS). Read more »