The Organic Farm Co-op Project came about when
Royce Hamer, the project coordinator learned about the
availability of a good-sized farm property centrally
located near the Greater Toronto area!
Royce had been helping a number of people to obtain organic foods at affordable pricing and knew that there was a large demand for healthier foods.
He thought that by having people band together as a co-operative it would be relatively easy to get a bank loan to purchase a farm property, but it turned out that a group-owned, farm organized as a multi-stakeholder co-operative is in fact unique in North America.
There is no precedent for financing such an organization. Consequently, financing from traditional sources, even credit unions, was not forthcoming.
As a result, Royce had to start looking for alternative, private financing, and it has taken nearly two years for the Co-op to progress to a point where private lenders are willing to provide mortgage financing, with the condition that the Co-op members come up a significant down payment in cash.
It is now time for all current members to pull together and for supporter of the Food Cooperatives concept to step up and help put this project across the finish line to achieve its first major milestone--ownership of a farm property and immediate planting!
May, 2017 Status Report
We are closer to being able to acquire a farm property, and plant for 2017, than at any time over the last two years. We now need a big push AND YOUR HELP to let more people know!
Currently, as of May, 2017, there are about 70 persons who have signed up to be land owners, with nearly 100 ownership units purchased.
As you are reading this in May of 2017, the Organic Farm Co-operative Project has close to $500,000 in assets consisting of nearly $150,000 in cash and $350,000 in purchase agreements.
If just a very small fraction of all the people who know about this project tell just one other interested person, we think we can get this done now.
OFC is incorporated as a Non-profit Multi-Stakeholder
Co-operative in the province of Ontario as approved by
the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).
OFC's Articles of Incorporation identify four classes of membership and four stakeholder groups. Read or download to your computer by clicking here. [Use "right click" on some computers.]
Our draft bylaws are available here.
The Organic Food Coop (OFC) Project supports the return
to organic food by promoting the cooperative purchase
and conversion of unproductive farm land.
OFC fosters and supports the return to organic food and enabling closer connections the sources of our food as part of a balanced approach to life, culture and environment.
The Organic Food Coop (OFC) Project is an organization
that has been formed to identify promising farm
properties near cities and metropolitan areas.
Our first project that we want to establish as a model is a property within an hour's driving distance of most of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), reaching a population of more than six million people.
We plan to implement the best practices of organic farms around the world, and combine that with state-of-the-art educational and communication programs to increase awareness about the value and importance of (1) organic food, (2) knowing what is in your food, (3) being closer to the source of your food.
What makes the Organic Farm Coop Project different and innovative is that it (1) is being set up as a hybrid community-business organization, (2) focuses on both farming and gardening,and (3) emphasizes a scaled, integrated communication and engagement strategy to serve as a best-of-class model around the world.
Our current planned programs include:
Children Outreach and Participation. Farm-garden plots for participating urban schools, especially for elementary and middle school youth.
Local Community and Enterprise Organizations Outreach. More community and enterprise organizations need to be engaged to learn about- and help spread information about the importance and benefits of organic foods.
Farming-Gardening Synergy. OFC plans to establish programs that will connect more urban residents to the land and farming experience by combining farming and gardening practices in new ways.
Part-Time Farming Opportunities. We believe that farming activities can add great value to people's lives. One of the best ways to do so is to offer part-time farming participation.
Collaboration and Sharing. We are supporters of the Open Culture concept. We will join collaborative activities whenever possible and practical.