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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Solving Ag Worker Shortages with Farm-Labor Worker Cooperatives

Nationwide, there are two jobs available in agriculture for every new job seeker. Farmers and ranchers in the Rocky Mountain West haven’t escaped the problem of securing reliable, efficient labor, and the current lack of available labor especially affects smallholder and family farms and ranches.

However, a creative solution is in the works in Colorado to help farmers and ranchers with tasks that run the gamut from fence-mending to pruning to harvesting to even setting and pulling irrigation pipe.

In 2018, two mobile farm workforce pilot projects along the northern Front Range and in southwest Colorado showed enough promise that Rocky Mountain Farmers Union has announced a commitment of $4000 to each project for 2019.

Last year, the pilot along the northern Front Range, coordinated by UpRoot Colorado, involved 15 mobile farm workers setting foot on 10 different farms and ranches across four counties for nine weeks, from September till early November. The workers harvested ~200,000 pounds of crops for participating farmers and ranchers. Three members of the workforce were veterans who found that farming resides at the intersection of an honest day’s work and the healing and spiritual benefits of stepping onto the land.

Read the rest at CooperationWorks!

 

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