Owning our food chain field to table!
Eat Local Grey Bruce Cooperative provides a third path for a food system: it establishes a direct relationship between consumers and farmers and a common ownership of the distribution. The co-op allows division of labor and many economies of scale. The co-op liberates farmers from marketing, while keeping the food chain short. Through reliable, long-term commitment between consumers and producers, a co-op can secure market access, offer growth opportunities for farmers, and transparency and quality for consumers. We envision this co-op as a stepping stone for enterprises that want to rebuild an “agriculture of the middle”.
One of the fundamental challenges for sustainable farming is the overwhelming power of middlemen: distributors, retailers, and owners of Intellectual Property. This position allows downloading the risk of rapidly fluctuating prices on farmers, has turned collaborative farming communities into disaffected competition, and promotes a one-sided focus on low prices above healthy, environmentally conscious, and tasty food.
More and more farmers maintain their independence as direct marketers. But direct marketing also takes much effort, and an excellent farmer may not be a talented marketer. But does (s)he need to be?
Growing a strong local food community!
Value-based food systems are not just about an alternative path to selling food, but also a precondition for broader changes in the food system. Food access to poor families, food literacy, education in seasonal cooking, support to new and emerging farmers, collaborative innovation with experienced farmers, all require a strong local food community.
Eat Local Grey Bruce Cooperative is committed to building such a food community, locally with the population of Grey and Bruce and regionally, through partnerships with other organizations and enterprises. We are locally grown: our food, our farms, our visions and aspirations.