Family Farmers Seed Cooperative and OSA partner to Implement Decentralized Seed Production and Marketing System
The Family Farmers Seed Cooperative is a farmer-owned marketing cooperative that OSA helped form in 2008. While OSA is not a member of FFSC, we provide consulting services to the new coop through our Advisory Services program.
The 13 member coop includes farms located in Oregon, Washington, North Dakota, Colorado and New Mexico. Having the membership spread throughout the western United States presents an interesting array of opportunities and challenges for the cooperative. This newsletter update is meant to provide an overview of the business strategy that FFSC is creating with OSA support, leading up to the launch of seed sales in the first quarter of 2011.
FFSC elected to set-up as a “closed” cooperative, meaning new members are accepted into the cooperative by nomination and vote from existing members. This was thought to be a good way to insure inclusion of skilled producers and thus grow and deliver high quality products. A variety of prime seed production regions were also identified for strategic investments as “production hubs”. The production hubs consist of several producers in close enough geographical proximity to share equipment, exchange and improve seed, manage crop isolations, and ship packet ready bulk seed to the Cooperative’s order fulfillment center at Seven Seeds Farm in Williams, Oregon. Seed will then be broken down and shipped to retail customers (farmers) and wholesale customers (seed companies).
Organic Seed Alliance secured three Rural Business Enterprise Grants to facilitate the development of FFSC’s production hubs. The grants will provide custom processing equipment plus training, technical assistance and marketing materials for North Dakota, Colorado and New Mexico producers. Workshops and field days in each of these states will occur in August and September of this year. Please also see Family Farmer’s Seed Cooperative website for more information on the co-op.
Dan Hobbs, Director of Advisory Services