Your co-op launched a farm microloan program aimed at getting more local products to market. The co-op recognizes one of its niches is providing local food, including that produced from small farms in our coastal region. As we prepare to open a bigger store later this year, we’ve been seeking ways to support an anticipated increase in demand.
“As we grow into a bigger space there’s going to be even more demand for local food and we want to help support our farmer’s ability to increase their capacity,” Produce Manager Danny Rasmussen said.
The co-op is piloting this new program with 46 North Farm in Olney. The co-op has invested $1,500 in the farm, essentially pre-paying for goods the farm will be selling to the co-op. The money will cover the cost to build four caterpillar tunnels, a type of cover for keeping plants warm. This will help the farm expand cut flower and produce production.
Farmer Teresa Retzlaff says she’s wanted to do this for a long time but doesn’t have that kind of money, especially this time of year when the farm is investing in supplies for the growing season.
“Sometimes it’s just these key pieces of infrastructure that can make such a huge difference in what we do, so I’m super excited,” Retzlaff said.
If this pilot microloan is a success, the co-op hopes to continue investing in other small local producers. The farm has agreed to pay the loan back over the summer in produce, flower bouquets and plant starts so keep an eye out for these at the co-op.
Astoria Co+op offers farmers loans for produce July 26, 2019