The Glen Valley Organic Farm is a community service (ie. non-profit) co-op with around 50 members. Most of these members have purchased shares in the farm but don’t want to be farmers themselves: they just want to support small-scale local agriculture.
People become co-op members by purchasing one $5,000 share. The co-op is run by a board made up of members, including the farm’s business owners, giving them an active role in making decisions about the land.
“The one thing that’s interesting about the model is it’s the land and the assets on the land that are owned by the co-op, and us as farmers run our own businesses,” Bodnar said. “We lease the land from the co-op, but in order to be a tenant on the land we need to be a member of the co-op.
That provides us security in that decisions aren’t made by the co-op that impact us without our knowledge of what’s going on, and the actual intent of the people who are part of the co-op is to support people who want to farm on the property. Provided that we’re operating businesses that support the mission and vision of the co-op it’s a really good fit. So it provides us with long-term security on the land in housing, and at the same time we didn’t need massive capital or a mortgage to put into it.”
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