Sowing co-operatively, reaping the benefits:
Young farmers use co-ops as a new way to work the land
‘I’ve helped out on many family farms, and I love them. I think they’re great. It’s not my dream. My dream’s a little bit different.”
David Laing is a young Edmonton man offering me tea to keep warm at his new apartment for the winter. I can picture him during the summer with soil under his fingernails and his heart on his sleeve. Laing is president of Edmonton’s Seeds, Feeds, and Needs Co-operative, which just finished its first agricultural season.
“I’m trying to build a co-op farm, a community farm,” Laing says. “Something where we’re bringing people together. We’re sharing profits. We’re making decisions collectively and building community around agriculture.”
Using a mix of garden space throughout the city and a farmer’s field 45 minutes away in New Sarepta, they were able to start farming before having land of their own.
Laing is one of many young faces around the country actively involved in building an agricultural movement that embraces sustainable practices and local availability. Unlike familiar images of quaint, organic family farms or massive corporate farms, there are more and more people going into agriculture as worker co-operatives…