Director, RMFU Cooperative Development Center
“Cooperatives are the original social enterprise and the preferred and time-tested business tool of rural America” – Dan Hobbs
What cannot be done alone but can be accomplished together.
Our Center is a program of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Foundation, which for more than 100 years has been a member-driven, progressive, and grassroots organization. RMFU advocates for the interests of family farmers and ranchers and their communities, and for economic and social justice throughout our three-state territory. RMFU in turn is a subdivision of National Farmers Union, which promotes these worthy causes nationally and internationally.
Assistant Director, RMFU Cooperative Development Center
“What attracted me to cooperative model was the movement to build sustainable communities, giving everyone a voice, and provide opportunity to pursue dreams when those dreams did not align with the traditional model.” – Sandra Baca
Co-op Development Specialist & Membership Field Representative, New Mexico
“I advocate for cooperatives based on both their economic and their social value in our democratic society. In a time of global markets, mergers and conglomerates, cooperative businesses now more than ever serve as an equalizer between faceless monopolies and entrepreneurial businesses with a social conscience. This is especially important in rural communities, remote regions and minority populations, which are too often underserved, if served at all, by said monopolies and conglomerates.” – Susann Mikkelson
It’s often asked, “If cooperatives are so great, why aren’t there more of them?” We like to say that the cooperative solution work and business is hidden in plain sight. About 1/3 of US adults do belong to a cooperative, considering the variety of types of co-ops. In this time of multiple crises for the US and the world, interest in co-ops is growing dramatically. This is for good reasons: cooperative structures allow for grassroots democracy; a healthy mix of individual and collective incentives; genuine inclusiveness; long-term financial security for their members; commitment to communities; and increasingly, a firm embrace of ecological principles.” – George Cheney
Independent Contractor, Legal
To connect urban areas with farmers and rural communities who grow the food we eat. The current BigAg model is not sustainable as it accelerates impacts of climate change and destroys soil quality. Instead, farmers’ cooperatives can lead the charge for regenerative agriculture and range management that can improve food security, soil health and sustainability. Cooperatives help to create a more robust and stable market system that is more flexible to the changing economic and climate impacts. – Nancy Van Burgel