"Scaling Up Rural Resilience Strategies: from Chicken Coops to Egg Cooperatives" - Lideres Campesinas
Early in the RC Seeds of Rural Resilience conference, Laura and Elizabeth, representatives of Lideres Campesinas, members of Alianza Nacional and Rural Coalition, reported on their emerging egg cooperative. They spoke about their desire to scale up, but also how they were providing quality food for their neighbors, who understand that organic, sustainable practices are better for their families:
“More and more people are asking for our eggs, but we cannot find land to house more chickens. Land is very expensive.”
Listening closely, Rick Lopez from the local Farm Service Agency office informed them that with sales exceeding $1000 dollars/year they were eligible “small producers.” He worked with them on the spot to explore federal programs that could help them scale up operations, find land, and meet the demand. He also offered to reach out to USDA in California. In two quick hours, “Las Mamas de los Pollitos” had drafted their first Business Plan!
Over the past months of 2018, Ms. Laura Gil has scaled up her operation to 200 laying hens, by locating additional coops throughout her neighborhood. She’s redoubled her efforts in looking for land. But agricultural land is expensive to buy, and long-term leases are tricky.
Ms. Laura Gil plans to attend the 2018 Winter Forum, where she expects to exchange ideas with other Rural Coalition members about land, leases and cooperative solutions.
Ms. Elizabeth Cordero also plans to attend the Forum to share good news about Lideres Campesinas as well as present some of the marketing strategies that have enabled these farmworker women to become farmers, growing a successful egg cooperative!