There are many reasons our members at Sun Produce decided to form an agricultural cooperative. The main one is that they ‘get it’ that working together on their common challenges could be and has turned out to be, beneficial: through cooperation and collaboration, building relationships of trust, a lot of hard work, and also some fun, they are leveraging mutual resources and success.
Our farms, customers and community members at the Co-op comprise a set of interrelated and interdependent parts that work to come together as a unified whole. They are part of Arizona’s food system – and as such, are located clearly along the route that any food product takes from “field to fork.” The relationships and collaborations they continue to create make them individually and collectively stronger. *
As Sun Produce Co-op moves from a start-up organization into a ‘growth’ phase, there are many partners and friends that have stepped forward and stepped up to make and keep the route smooth and sounder all the time. As often as I can, I will use this space to lift-up a few of the partners and friends that keep us going and grateful and inspired.
Ok – that is really all of you!
But this winter holiday column takes special notice of Adrienne Udarbe and her amazing team at Pinnacle Prevention. www.pinnacleprevention.org. Talk about connecting the dots among partnerships, programs, and policy work to put the Arizona food system pieces together, look at the gaps and find meaningful ways to create healthier, stronger, more resilient communities. And / but just to say, from my personal perspective, Adrienne’s kindness, hard work ethic, vision and understanding, and leadership are reflected in her vision and her team, and through her support and responsiveness to community needs. Her work and time to support the Co-op to find funding as it grows to meet its mission is above and beyond extraordinary: landing one successful 3-year USDA grant that has allowed Co-op staff and program expansion, and the recent submission of another to help us go deeper into sustainable markets for our growers. Sun Produce Co-op is and will be forever grateful.
It has certainly been a year filled with individual personal challenges and changes for many of us, compounded by larger and largely connected community and social issues like farmland loss, drought, a global pandemic, climate change and a deepening realization of the lasting role that structural racism and economic disenfranchisement has played in the persistence and prevalence of hunger, poverty, and health inequities.
But there is nothing like the power of partners and friends to bring out the best in each of us, to find hope, solutions, and inspiration together.
To all of you partners and friends, thank you! We at Sun Produce Co-op celebrate you daily and hope you will celebrate each other and yourselves! We wish you an abundant, joyful holiday season and an amazing new year!
** sentientmedia.org/food-system/; https://tyonote.com/system_approach_of_management/
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Sun Produce Cooperative (SPC) is a multi-stakeholder agricultural and marketing organization that includes agricultural producers, distributors, buyers and market specialists.
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Sun Produce Cooperative has several programs designed to deliver locally grown produce to communities throughout Arizona.
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