Cooperatives for Local Food
Farmers have formed cooperatives for decades, but successful new cooperatives are somewhat rare. A group of ranchers in the San Francisco bay area have recently formed a new coop with the specific purpose of building local meat processing capabilities. Adam Parks is the vice president of the newly formed cooperative.
Parks… “One of the things about Bay Area Rancher Coop - or Bar-C as we call it is it's kind of like a referee or an offensive lineman. If everything goes according to plan, you'll never hear about us. No consumer will ever know who we are. That's the way we want it. Our customers are the ranchers that are taking their product out to market. There's never intended to be a Bar-C brand. You're never going to go into a grocery store and see Bar-C ground beef for Bar-C chicken breasts. We want the ranchers to market their own products. And our job is solely processing.”
The coop hopes to be starting operations in the coming months. Despite a lot of calls from other producers wanting to do the same thing, Parks says he’s not ready to give out advice just yet.
Parks… “I mean, I feel really good about where Bar-C is and where we're going. And we've got a pretty, pretty solid group on the board of directors that is making decisions and building this thing from scratch. Our plan is once we are operational, one of the things that we will do is we will put together a whole package on, you know, how we got from start to finish. And I would think that would be pretty interesting.”
Learn more at bayarearanchers.com.