[Market-farming] Grower's Association?

Etienne Goyer etienne.goyer at outlands.ca
Wed Mar 9 09:47:14 EST 2011

There's two associations that works very well in my area.

Baie des Saveurs: http://baiedessaveurs.com/ (in French).  It's an
association that market their products together during the winter
(storage vegetable, frozen vacuum-sealed organic beef and prepared
organic food).  Because we do not have a winter market around here,
marketing in the off-months is difficult.  So, they have built this
online ordering platform where people place order once every three week
on the association web site.  Each member of the association is
responsible for one drop point.  On delivery day, they meet in a central
location, and distribute products to each drop point managers.
Customers then come pick up their order at each drop point later in the
day.  All this process is very smooth from the customer perspective:
place an order online, pick it up at your nearest drop point.  It works
very well in a rural area such as mine, as it allow farmers to sell
directly to the customer in a very large area pretty effortlessly.
Maintenance of the web site is funded by a 5$ yearly customer
subscription fee for the service.  If you are interested in this, I can
probably put you touch with the webmaster.

Another one is the CUMA, Coopérative d'utilisation de machinerie
agricole (farm equipment coop).  Search Google for "cuma farm equipment"
for more details.  It's been pioneered by the French after WWII, and is
very popular here in Québec.  In short, it is an incorporated
co-operative of farmer sharing machineries.  Farmers organise themselves
into "branches" within the coop, and pay a certain amount of start-up
capital.  Machineries is then bought on loan to share within the branch,
and all member pay the yearly cost (loan payment, maintenance of the
machinery, management overhead, etc) proportionally to their use of the
machinery.  The by-law of these coop have been standardised already, so
starting a CUMA or a branch within one is very straightforward.  I am
trying to set up a branch in my local CUMA to share a 5' spader and
power harrow for soil working, but I doubt it would work out as there
are not enough small-scale growers around here to make it work.  We'll
see!  :)

Hope that help,

Etienne Goyer
Le Jardin du Village - http://lejardinduvillage.wordpress.com

On 11-03-09 01:08 AM, Leslie Moyer 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 goals?  
> --Leslie
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