[Market-farming] Grower's Association?

KAKerby at aol.com KAKerby at aol.com
Wed Mar 9 08:46:59 EST 2011

We have several growers' associations out here, one of them  with a lot of 
success, one with mixed, and one which I wish now I hadn't  bought into 
(that money would have been better spent elsewhere).  Instead  of going into 
names and details about those groups, I'll say that the quality of  the group's 
work will largely be a reflection of the quality of the people in  it.  If 
you can include top-notch folks, dedicated to whatever  goals your group 
has, who also have good track records accomplishing their own  goals in life 
(in ways you respect), then you've got a lot going for your  group's 
collective success.  But put a bunch of people in a room together  who haven't 
figured out the basics yet (for either farming or politics or  interpersonal 
skills), and you'll get pretty much the same thing writ large when  they try to 
work together.  I hope you have a group of the former rather  than the 
Kathryn Kerby
Snohomish, WA
Ruminations - essays on the farming life at  frogchorusfarm.com/weblog.html
In a message dated 3/9/2011 4:00:23 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,  
idyllwildfarm at gmail.com writes:

Deep  Root Growers Coop (based in VT, I think), PVGA (Pioneer Valley 
Growers Coop)  (Whately, MA?) and I think that CISA in MA may have some other 
ideas or spins  on growers coop type model (there are a group of growers in the 
pioneer valley  in MA who combine product and sell in Boston area sort of 
like a CSA).   
IMHO, I would focus on the basics to begin with. It's going to be hard  
enough to get enough critical mass of crops, packed identically and with  
identical quality to build a reliable brand that you can sell for decent  money. 
You'll need a collection point and someone to take the lead as a  seller. 
But in the cases I mentioned above, when it works, you can do  well.
Good Luck,

On Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 1:08 AM, Leslie Moyer <_unschooler at lrec.org_ 
(mailto:unschooler at lrec.org) >  wrote:

Some growers in my area (including me)  are interested in forming a 
grower's association and have scheduled a  meeting to discuss this with other area 
growers.  In some areas, a  farmers market might fulfill some of the roles 
we envision for such a  grower's association, but not all of the roles.  In 
our area, the  farmers market is ineffectual at best; counter-productive in 
some cases,  and, at the moment, it doesn't look that that is going to change 
for a  while.  We see this as encompassing more than any single farmers 
market  anyway--at least in our rural area.  

Some of the possibilities we have talked about for this grower's  
association include: a buyer's coop,  a communication network (email list and/or 
website), educational  workshops, farm tours, cooperative selling (including 
institutional sales),  integrated growing strategies, increasing the number and 
variety of  sales outlets (including extending the season of existing 
outlets),  operation of retail outlet(s), sharing capital resources (such as 
land,  equipment, processing facilities, etc.), buyer education, and more.  I 
know there are organizations out there in other places doing some of  these 
things.  Can anyone point me toward other models we might look to  as we go 
about structuring this group and figuring out its mission, purpose,  and 


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