Questa is an agrarian community with a cultural history of ranching and farming; there is a resurgence of interest in getting back to the land and producing fresh, organic, and sustainable food locally. An initiative is underway to create an agricultural cooperative for our area. On Thursday, Feb. 9, at 5:30 pm a presentation on co-ops will be held in person and via Zoom at the Questa Public Library followed by a community discussion and input session.
The proposed Questa Valley Preservation Agricultural Co-operative is a collaborative community co-op and business enterprise. Do you eat, grow, ranch, process, or buy food? Then you and your family can benefit from this opportunity and be a part of a thriving and sustainable food and agricultural system in the Questa area.
Dan Hobbs, the Cooperative Specialist for the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union (https://rmfu.org/), will be presenting information about starting and running an agricultural co-op and sharing resources available through RMFU:
• Why start an ag coop?
• What types of coops are there?
• Who should be involved?
• How to get started and how to keep it running?
• What about a Food Hub?
The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Educational and Charitable Foundation, Inc. established the Cooperative Development Center as a program of RMFU to provide technical, financial, and educational assistance for new and existing cooperative businesses and projects. According to their website, “Cooperatives are time-tested business models and are often the preferred structures in rural areas. For 25 years, we have helped small to mid-size resource-limited family farmers and ranchers, entrepreneurs and agencies serving rural communities begin, grow and re-tool businesses, resulting in increased economies of scale, meaningful job creation and retention, better quality of life, and increased income opportunities for rural citizens.”
Local Lisa Fox, Questa’s Agricultural Co-Op Coordinator, will share more information on how a Questa business enterprise can accomplish this and go beyond to help regenerate fallow arable lands, match new farmers to available land, create value-added agricultural products, address regenerative land management principles, provide workshops and educational opportunities, support internships for our youth, even address “succession planning” for retiring farmers.
An idea is being explored to open a physical location in the Village center in the near future as a “Food Hub” where area farmers and ranchers can sell their produce, food items, baked goods, and more. Even bigger ideas and future visions include a café, mercado, community garden, meat processing plant, cheese production, food storage, and so much more.
Plan to attend this presentation in person or via Zoom to learn about a potential agricultural co-op for the Questa area, to share your ideas, and provide your input. For more information email Lisa Fox at email@example.com.