May 9, 2013–A group of 15 farmers, food producers, volunteers, food managers, coop visionaries, and Project Sweetie Pie car-pooled to Hutchinson MN as guests of AgStar Bank to develop a business plan for Community Table with Paul Filzen, Zach Rada, Steve Zenk and Mike Mastey, Farm Business Management Instructors with Ridgewater College.
Attendees spent the day refinin a business structure and financial plan that organizes a network with the Hmong Farmers Cooperative, the Cooperative of Latin American Growers, Happy Acres Farm, Project Sweetie Pie and other grower cooperatives. The Community Table would aggregate the food, and then process it and distribute to large and small customers. This would allow many farmers a chance to sell up to 30% more produce. It would also allow food from small scattered gardens grown by kids in the community to be sold to a large buyer like the MPS school system where the kids could then eat the produce for lunch.
This effort unites the urban agricultural movement with its local rural movement so that the growth of city gardening does not adversely impact local farmers.