Organic Consumers Association

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The Co-Op Farming Model Might Help Save America's Small Farms

Amid a nationwide rise in worker-owned businesses of all types, small farms across the country are foregoing traditional farm ownership and reaping the benefits of cooperative farming.

Across the U.S.—from New England to California—a small but growing movement of farmers is foregoing traditional farm ownership in favor of a cooperative model. In Maine, four Somali Bantu refugees raise crops on shared land at New Roots Cooperative Farm, growing both regional and Somali produce. To the south in Vermont, Intervale Community Farm shares farm ownership with its community supported agriculture (CSA) members. Next door is Digger’s Mirth, a worker-owned farm. And across the country in Southern California’s Pauma Valley, Solidarity Farmshares work and resources with other stewards of the land.

Though these farms are run by people with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and motivations, they all seek to rebuild what’s been lost over the past century: a connection with neighbors—whether personal, economic, or both—and a sense of the mutual support that keeps rural communities alive.

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