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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Cooperative Agriculture Network Expands No-Cost Services

Humboldt County, CA – The Cooperative Agriculture Network, a worker-owned
cooperative that supports cooperative business development among small-scale craft
cannabis farmers in the Emerald Triangle is now hosting their no-cost CAN Accelerator
program twice a month on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Crisp Lounge in Eureka.
Farmers, distributors and retailers who are interested in building a cooperative economy
as a way to leverage shared power and resources in the fight to preserve the future of
the exceptional products of our region are welcome to work with the team of CAN
advisors to build their cooperative and join the growing ecosystem of cannabis
cooperatives. Our purpose is to explore cooperative development as a
historically-proven means of protecting our community’s legacy of small-farmers and
small businesses who have supported the local economy and regional ecology for

Additionally, CAN is now hosting influential guests on their no-cost CAN Speaker
Series. On May 17, CAN hosted George Siemon, co-founder of the multi-million dollar
Organic Valley Cooperative. In the late 1980s, when dairy farmers in Wisconsin faced a
“get big or get out” market dominated by chemical industrial agriculture, Siemon and
several other farmers banded together to create a co-op of dairy producers.Today, that
co-op is a billion-dollar national cooperative that is still owned and governed by small,
organic, family farmers. Siemon discussed founding a farmer’s cooperative, financing,
how to scale up, and what other farmers can learn from Organic Valley as a successful
cooperative enterprise.

This Winter, CAN hosted the no-cost Cooperative Cannabis Academy, an 8-week
academy resulting in a certificate to effectively develop cooperative businesses in the
cannabis space in Humboldt County. The CAN Academy brought experts in legal
technical assistance, budgeting, accounting, cooperative development, group facilitation
and business development for more than 40 farmers to support their journey from
conceptualizing a cooperative to preparing to function as one. CAN is currently seeking
funding to host their second Academy in 2023.

The Cooperative Agriculture Network team includes Drew Barber, a founding member of
Uplift Cooperative, California’s first cannabis producers cooperative, and Shawn Cherry,
a founding member of Salmon Creek Legacy Farms, the first cannabis producers
cooperative incubated by CAN. The CAN Accelerator program is now incubating three
new cooperatives and expanding their cooperative umbrella to include the entire
Emerald Triangle.

The new CAN website at includes links to register for the CAN Accelerator
program at Crisp Lounge, links to access the academic research guided and supported
by CAN in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy and
others, as well as links to access the recordings from previous guests on the CAN
Speaker Series, including George Siemon.

Visit the Cooperative Agriculture Network website


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