Amanda Barnett and David DiLorenzo pull out spinach plants in a greenhouse at Stone Soup Farm Co-Op in Hadley, Mass. (Photo by Jerry Roberts)
October is Cooperative Month, and this year’s theme is “The Co-op Connection,” an apt reference to the virtually unlimited number of ways in which co-ops connect their members to marketplaces and services they might otherwise be unable to access.
America is home to more than 30,000 cooperatives, including farmer, rural utility, credit/financial services, food stores, housing and many other types of cooperatives. To get an idea of just how flexible the co-op business model is in meeting virtually any need, see the Co-op Month special section of the Sept.-Oct. issue of USDA’s “Rural Cooperatives” magazine at: www.rurdev.usda.gov (under the “Spotlights” section of the home page). Read more »
Cross posted from the White House Rural Council Blog:
Recently, representatives from the White House Domestic Policy Council, the US Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of the Treasury joined representatives from various community projects from around the country to discuss how to increase healthy food access to communities in need. The event included representatives from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Food Research and Action Center, Policy Link, and the Fair Food Network.
Participants shared their stories of success, and what we can do to encourage more healthy foods in these communities. For example: Read more »
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Small Business Connections is designed to provide small businesses and small farmer-owned cooperatives with the exposure and insight to help increase contracting participation with the federal government. USDA’s continued commitment to broadening this access to contract opportunities stimulates small business ownership and economic growth, creates jobs, and results in improving the quality of life across America.
In support of the Obama Administration’s efforts to put Americans back to work and create an economy built to last, on Sept. 24 in Macon, Ga., the USDA Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization will host Rural Small Business Connections. This training event will provide small businesses with educational networking sessions and tips on how to successfully do business with USDA and other federal agencies. Read more »
In support of Secretary Vilsack’s implementation of President Obama’s agenda to put Americans back to work and create an economy built to last, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) in collaboration with Virginia State University’s (VSU) Small Farm Outreach Program will host Rural Small Business Connections. This training event will provide small businesses with a series of educational networking sessions and opportunities on how to build capacity and successfully do business with USDA and other Federal agencies. Read more »
A new Co-op Market and Deli, centrally located in a former Fairbanks grocery store, is open for business with support from USDA and the Golden Valley Electric Association. Photos by Jane Gibson, USDA.
Alaska’s first member-owned community grocery store is open for business. The Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market was partially funded by the USDA Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants (REDLG) program.
Making this project possible was the Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA), a USDA borrower since 1949. GVEA is the grantee that was awarded a REDLG to fund a revolving loan which was used to help establish the Market. USDA Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund traveled to Fairbanks last month to join with community, volunteers and founders in the grand opening of the new Market. The store has already provided more than 20 new local jobs for residents. Read more »
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 »