Guest Post: Pasture-Raised Poultry and Egg Co-op Forming

As you might know, King County Conservation District awarded a grant to fund a Puget Sound Pasture-Raised Poultry and Egg Cooperative (name TBD by committee). A small group of farmers are working out the legal details with KCD and should finish by mid Dec. We also secured a Northwest Agricultural Business Center grant to fund the creation of the CoOp legal entity. Also, thanks much to everyone who participated in our early meetings and survey, as your input and ideas were critical in making this possible. We’re excited to get the cooperative up and running in 2016!

Getting up and running briefly means three things:

All prospective cooperative members meet in January for orientation to cooperative principles and our cooperative’s mission, vision and goals, with Northwest Agricultural Business Center leading the process.
Form a steering committee to assist with official incorporation and startup logistics – there is a lot to do and there are many ways to contribute as we start up.
By spring/summer, we strive to have a growing supply of pastured, organic eggs to supply as we have numerous accounts to fulfill. The eggs will come from farmers like yourself.
Why are we telling you? We want to rekindle interest on the part of SnoValley Tilth members and other farmers, now that the grant process is complete.

Next Deadlines:

Early Dec: Work with KCD to finalize the grant.
Dec 29th: Meeting with those interested in being part of the start-up. See Facebook page or email below for more details.
Early to Mid January: Prospective members meet with NABC, steering committee established.
Late January: Steering committee begins work.
How will the Co-Op work?

We’re preparing an informational pamphlet now, to post to our FB page, and other community channels. In brief, the Co-Op is meant to meet the demand of large accounts, like Amazon’s employee kitchens, Local CSA’s, PCC and other grocers, hospitals and other institutions, etc, which individually we cannot efficiently supply, individually. Any farmer who participates will be an owner. The Co-Op will collect (from your property, not your nesting boxes 🙂 ) eggs, which the Co-Op will clean, box, and ship. The Co-Op will also work to reduce feed costs, provide a WSDA poultry slaughter facility, and wholesale pricing on supplies, chicks and equipment.

The Cooperative’s objectives are:

  • To increase local supply of pasture-raised eggs so local wholesale buyers (e.g. PCC and Puget Sound Food Hub), including public and private institutions (e.g. Amazon’s employee kitchens), large grocers, CSA’s (e.g. Oxbow and Snoqualmie Valley Co-Op) and corporate caterers, can choose to fulfill orders with product raised in King County and surrounding areas. (Note: represents commitments to purchase from Co-Op).
  • To help more small farms increase profitability through pasture-raised poultry and egg sales while decreasing the burden of labor, high cost feeds, and capital expenses.
  • To increase the efficiency of the production of pasture-raised eggs to allow for more production capabilities that doesn’t compromise farmer profitability or food equity.

How do I find out more?

We will use our Nelli Farms Facebook page, until we create a name. You can also reach us at pscoopTBD@gmail.com .

Thanks,

Lara, Nelli Farms

Petrina, Skylight Farms

Charles, Nelli Farms