October is Co-op Month, and we're celebrating all the ways cooperatives put values into action.
Recently Jade Vantreese and Griffin Berger of Puget Sound Food Hub stopped by Central Co-op to tell us more about their Mount Vernon-based farmer-owned co-op. The Food Hub was started as a weekly wholesale market in the parking lot of Skagit Valley Food Co-op in 2010. In 2015 they became a co-op in order to become more self-sufficient, encouraging farmer involvement in making the organization more effective in serving its members. They now have a sophisticated online ordering system, 41 member farms and in 2016 posted sales in excess of one million dollars.
Jade, who serves as Sales & Marketing Coordinator, told us, “We have a diversity of farms anywhere from small incubator farms, such as our farms at Viva which are working with first time farmer education, usually with farmers who don’t have access to land. And then we also have large organic farms that are dealing in palette-sized orders.”
Being able to aggregate their produce allows the farmers to sell to a wide variety of customers, from small cafes to grocery stores, hospitals and universities. They seek to build relationships through transparency and food safety, maintaining high quality standards and preserving the seller’s identity so that customers know the story of who, how and where their food was grown.
In the spirit of Cooperative Principle 6: Cooperation Among Cooperatives, we carry a variety of produce from Puget Sound Food Hub’s member farms, and recently added dried apples from Sauk Farm, where Griffin works as Operations Manager. In the accompanying video Griffin shares what it means to him to work with other farmers cooperatively.
Date: Friday October 27, 2017
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