One of the Peach State’s
oldest black ag co-ops
The West Georgia Farmer’s Cooperative (WGFC) is a grassroots, agricultural collective headquartered in Hamilton, Georgia. For the past 53 years, the co-op has held agriculture-focused meetings and events to help support small farmers, farming communities and local businesses in the food industry. Designed to build local food systems and wealth through cooperative economics, WGFC includes a network of beginner to veteran farmers. It often partners with state and federal agricultural experts to keep its members informed about modern farming practices that benefit the co-op and the state’s rural communities. WGFC is also a member of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund.
“The fact is: Blacks are still struggling, and we’re still losing land in our communities. Through WGFC, our younger generations have the benefit of entering the business side of agriculture early.”
— Eric Simpson, farmer and development coordinator of WGFC
WHAT IS A
A co-op is a business that works for and is owned by its members. This model is exactly what WGFC does in agriculture. And guess what? Co-ops are everywhere — from grocery stores and health care to education and housing. WGFC’s members work together to empower one another and receive the best deals to become successful agribusiness professionals. Like WGFC, co-ops are beneficial because money stays in the community, members have a say in the business, they help build a more inclusive economy and they support independent businesses. WGFC also sticks to the following 7 cooperative principles in order to sustain its co-op business model:
- Members’ Economic Participation
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives
- Democratic Member Control
- Education, Training & Information
- Voluntary & Open Membership
- Concern for Community
- Autonomy & Independence
Meet more innovative farmers: blackfarmersnetwork.com
She cares for her mints over here. Spices over there. Fruit trees — guava, peach, pear, banana, apple and persimmons — back over yonder.