- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, cooperatives, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, market study
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, sustainability measures
The Bay Area Farmers Association, or BAFA, was created by farmers for farmers to
develop cooperative ways of working together. BAFA brings the benefits of expanded
market ability, shared resources and improved communication t o each other and to
their farms. After our original Western SARE award, BAFA will continue to be
supported by farmerlmarket producer, business and individual memberships.
After a steering committee met several times, BAFA was organized as an
unincorporated association. We are a membership based, grower group currently with
17 farmer members and one supporting member. We appointed a Board of Directors
and have held two Board meetings. We have produced a website and an informational
brochure. We are now actively looking f o r new members and exploring potential
locations for a common distribution dock. Our first Annual Membership Meet in is
scheduled for April 2005, during which we will present other opportunities for this
organization. That may include proposals for re-organization as a farmer cooperative or
educational non-profit organization, discussion about collaborating with other
sustainable agriculture groups and expansion of marketing opportunities for members.
Since we hired our Project Administrator, developed our materials and began outreach
to other producers, the Bay Area farmers’ market and restaurant community has
expressed growing interest and enthusiasm to support us. We anticipate that with
increased membership, our influence will expand along with ou ability to serve the
needs of our members and the community.
BAFA’s fulfillment of its mission will be an ongoing work in progress for the immediate
future and with the of commitment of its members, its goal to increase the viability,
productivity and time spent farming for Bay Area farmers is sure to be achieved.
Originally proposed as the Bay Area Agricultural Cooperative as a collaboration
between CUESA (the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) and
the producers and cooperators of the original grant, The Bay Area Farmers Association emerged after the CUESA Board of Directors decided not to endorse the collaboration.
With approval from the Western Region SARE Program, the Bay Area Farmers
Association adopted many of the same goals as originally proposed for the cooperative.
The objectives that were re-approved include: establishing a method of communication
between farmers, and farmers and markets; encouraging direct farmer to restaurant
sales by working with existing organizations; encouraging the sharing of resources
such as labor, transportation and cold storage; and helping facilitate the connection
between farmers and customers.