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Seeking Dedicated Farmers to Work Towards Goal of Starting a Worker-Cooperative Veggie Farm in USA  RSS feed

 
Paul Hanson
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Greetings Fellow Farmers and Gardeners,

This is a call to the land seekers and aspiring market and CSA veggie farmers who know they can't do it alone. 

To introduce myself:  I am a child of 1989 with three years of farm interning and wwoofing behind me, still carrying that dream of eventually becoming "The Farmer". 
"The Farm" would in many ways resemble the re-emerging family farm; 5-15 acres of vegetable production, sold through the local outlets, a few animals on the side and thoughtfully worked in, other interesting side venues-time permitting.  The interesting part is that the 'family' is made of 4-6 people committed first and foremost to keeping the farm running, the communication open, and the lifestyle sustainable, with love and romance factoring through outside avenues, and maybe not at all within the farmer group. 

A bit of colloquial trivia learned from my days wandering the US farming community: the Largest reason for small farms' failure and dissolution is divorce.

So how can we mitigate that looming threat?  Farm with people you aren't dating, at least not exclusively.  Added perk of not having to search around for a love interest who also farms.

But how, you ask?

For an intro to worker cooperatives,  The Greenhorns Manual on Cooperative Farming is a great start.  Check out Ferme Tournesol for a great example of co-op farming in action.

It will require a lot of careful financial, business, marketing, legal, and systems planning.  It will require a lot of meetings, communication, meetings about communication, communications about meetings, meetings about meetings, struggle, strife, hard work, and above all, dedication.  It will no doubt be difficult, and there will no doubt be times of extreme doubt. 

Above all, I am hoping to connect with people who desire so much to make this model work, that they are willing to put in the work with me, and with others, to making it happen.

I have begun researching the legal ins and outs of owning a business.  I have begun to research different frameworks for contractual co-ownership.  I have little capitol, and I expect most people interested in an idea like this to be in a similar boat. 

Emailing, phone calls, planning, drafting-  all are great and necessary.  I believe to make a serious go at this, spending a season working together/interning, on someone else's farm, giving ourselves time to get to know each other in the farm setting, to be an incredibly beneficial and illuminating step.  No pressure to sign on for more than 6ish months, and at no cost to ourselves.

A project like this will take at least 6 months to a year of planning, searching, and building the framework for communication before the land is ever tread upon.

"The Farm"  would not necessarily be cooperatively lived on.  My current and flexible goal is having a group to share the work with; moves towards having a group to communally interact is welcome, but not top priority.

So, share your thoughts!!  Hit me up.  Spread the word.

Thank you
-Paul Hanson

*This is my first post so I apologize if the forum category is incorrect, and would love any suggestions on where else to post this.  Thanks*
 
Dustin Nemos
Posts: 95
Location: Central TN
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I love the idea of a co op biz that employs land mates. We recently launched an intentional community in rural Tennessee on 11 acres and would love to chat with you more about it.
 
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