Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE96-159.
While organic growers in Connecticut and elsewhere are served by the Northeast Organic Farmers’ Association (NOFA), Mr. Norris felt that his area needed another organization to focus more on the marketing of their produce. Together with a couple of dozen other organic farmers in Connecticut, Mr. Norris applied for and obtained a SARE grant to aid in the estalishment of what came to be known as the Certified Organic Associated Growers (COAG) of Connecticut. The objectives of this group are to establish liaisons with buyers’ cooperatives, explore marketing strategies, promote organic agriculture, and cooperatively market the produce of its members’ farms. Mr. Norris and his associates incorporated COAG as a non-profit organization in January, 1997. Among the activities of COAG to date have been: 1) lobbying of state legislators to update those of Connecticut’s statutes that pertain to organic food and agriculture, 2) participation in Connecticut’s Agriculture Day, and the state Agricultural Exposition, 3) bringing together of buyers with COAG’s member growers, 4) organization of an all-organic farmers’ market, and 5) publication of promotional literature, including leaflets on COAG and the meaning of organic certification, and a bumper sticker.
Mr. Norris reports that the exchange of ideas that takes place during COAG’s regular meetings has engendered an enthusiasm and activism among the members. Many have become newly active in NOFA, and on the board of Farm Fresh, which governs the state’s farmers’ markets. Some have found new buyers through COAG, and some have launched small marketing ventures of their own involving, for instance, cooperative marketing of complementary products.