Donate Now!

Donate Now!
Buy a membership or koozies to help!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fellowships in the Farming Community

The Burkett family has been putting down roots in the soil of Petal, Mississippi for one hundred and twenty-one years. "I can remember delivering watermelons to the market in New Orleans when I was just a little fella," says lifetime farmer and farmer advocate Ben Burkett. On a family farm that was once fluffy-white with cotton, Ben now grows sixteen varieties of vegetables ranging from okra to sweet peas as well as organic herbs. You can still find him selling melons at the Crescent City Farmers Market in New Orleans and the Hattiesburg Market in Mississippi.

Like most farmers, Ben wears many hats. He is also the director of the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, which is an arm of long-time Farm Aid funded group Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. Born from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the Federation works in sixteen states across the southeast, with particular focus on Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina, to increase the income and enhance community development in some of the poorest parts of the south.

For farmers, this includes to outreach and education programs that help create and support credit unions and farmer owned cooperatives. Regardless of size or scope, all cooperatives share certain elements in common. Membership is voluntary and democratic. The goal of a cooperative business is to meet the common economic, social and cultural needs of its members - a concept that was very important to the founders of the Federation.

Federation staff provide training and technical assistance to seventy-five farmer cooperatives, like the one that Ben Burkett belongs to in Mississippi, the Indian Springs Farmers Association. "There are a lot of benefits to belonging to a co-op," explains Ben. "The market is more regular and there is camaraderie. Every time I go there, I learn something new [from the other farmers]. There is a sense of fellowship." read entire article here>>>

There is around 200 bloggers doing the blogathon this year. So many causes that are worth our attention. If you haven't found the blogger you wish to sponsor, or want to help them by leaving comments, or are just curious, try the blogathon frame, here. Surf through and see what is going on.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...