Strength in numbers

Strength in numbers

Family farmers join forces to provide fresh, local food
Rachel Bennett, of the Southwest Farm Fresh Collective, unloads food shares from a refrigerated truck. That week’s shares consisted of garlic scapes, spearmint, lettuce mix, carrots, Swiss chard, arugula and sunflower spouts.
Lindsay Dozoretz, center, and Kate Siber, divide up their Southwest Farm Fresh Collective food share while Rachel Bennett of SWFFC helps Carol Ozaki and Jim Mohle split up their share at the Smiley Building.
For the week of June 23, the food shares from the Southwest Farm Fresh Collective consisted of garlic scapes, spearmint, lettuce mix, carrots, Swiss chard, arugula and sunflower spouts.
For the week of June 23, the food shares from the Southwest Farm Fresh Collective consisted of garlic scapes, spearmint, lettuce mix, carrots, Swiss chard, arugula and sunflower spouts.
Ole Bye, general manager of the Southwest Farm Fresh Collective, unloads food shares from a refrigerated truck.
A food hub for Southwest Colorado

The ultimate goal of the Southwest Farm Fresh Cooperative is to become an established food hub for southern Colorado. According to the National Good Food Network, a regional food hub is “a business or organization that manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of food products from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.”
In short: it’s a bridge between consumers and food producers.
There are examples of such systems with humble beginnings really taking off. Organic Valley, www.organicvalley.coop, producers of dairy products distributed nationwide, began as a small cooperative in western Wisconsin in 1988, when a handful of farmers disenchanted with the state of America’s industrializing of agriculture met at the county courthouse to discuss how to they could work together and respond. Now the organization, still cooperatively run, has more than 1,800 family farms in 37 states in their network. You can find their products in most of Durango’s grocery stores; the closest Colorado farms in their network are in Del Norte, Trinidad and Calhan.
Closer to home is the La Montanita Cooperative http://lamontanita.coop/aboutus/ with a number of locations throughout New Mexico. Established in 1976, it’s now the state’s largest community-owned market.

On the Net

Southwest farm fresh cooperative: www.southwestfarmfresh.com
national good food network: www.ngfn.org/resources/food-hubs
healthy food access portal: www.healthyfoodaccess.org/retail-strategies/food-hubs

Strength in numbers

Rachel Bennett, of the Southwest Farm Fresh Collective, unloads food shares from a refrigerated truck. That week’s shares consisted of garlic scapes, spearmint, lettuce mix, carrots, Swiss chard, arugula and sunflower spouts.
Lindsay Dozoretz, center, and Kate Siber, divide up their Southwest Farm Fresh Collective food share while Rachel Bennett of SWFFC helps Carol Ozaki and Jim Mohle split up their share at the Smiley Building.
For the week of June 23, the food shares from the Southwest Farm Fresh Collective consisted of garlic scapes, spearmint, lettuce mix, carrots, Swiss chard, arugula and sunflower spouts.
For the week of June 23, the food shares from the Southwest Farm Fresh Collective consisted of garlic scapes, spearmint, lettuce mix, carrots, Swiss chard, arugula and sunflower spouts.
Ole Bye, general manager of the Southwest Farm Fresh Collective, unloads food shares from a refrigerated truck.
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