Farmers are the backbones of their local food economies. Most often selling through farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares, these farmers ensure that their communities have access to fresh, healthy, local food. While local farms are a boon to their local food systems, these producers face significant hurdles when looking to expand and scale their businesses. Regulatory requirements, farm capacity, market relationship development, and ability to cooperate all affect the success of a farm business. Managing these complex dynamics can be incredibly difficult for a small farm operation alone. However, small farms working cooperatively may be better poised to meet these challenges.
To prepare farm enterprises to scale up their sales by working together, we propose developing a cooperative support program that will help producers explore and achieve Group GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification and develop skills to sell cooperatively into wholesale market streams.
Course Content Creator and Facilitator
James Carbine, Optimist Consulting LLC
Jim is a business consultant, entrepreneur and C-Level operations & sales executive with 40 years of experience in the Food/Distribution/Restaurant and Paper/Paperboard/Packaging industries. Currently, Jim and his wide Andrea consult via Optimist Consulting – specializing in providing specialty expertise in the good food space and sustainable food system projects around the country. Before moving to Grand Rapids, MI Jim was CEO of Local Foods, a Chicago based regional wholesale food distributor (serving restaurants, caterers, institutional clients, and food service companies in the Upper Midwest) and a retail grocery store/butcher shop.
Funding for this project was provided by the Blooming Prairie Foundation.