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Italy’s thriving agricultural co-ops

publication date: Oct 1, 2017
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With word that Amazon has purchased Whole Foods, farmers can be sure that the downward pressure on prices will continue. Farmers in many regions report declining CSA memberships and farmers market sales. Producers will have to think hard about the sustainability of their operations with regard to marketing and pricing amidst changing consumer expectations.

A model that deserves consideration within this changing landscape is the co-operative. Co-operatives have a long-standing presence in agriculture. Producer co-ops achieve economies of scale for marketing. Consumer co-ops sell groceries to many consumers and many farmers buy inputs through co-ops. Financial co-ops, or credit unions, provide financial services to many rural communities. There are even examples of land ownership and worker co-op models in agriculture.

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