BFRDP Projects

Cooperative Development Center of Northern New Mexico
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $100,000
Grant Program: 2015 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Arturo Sandoval
Organization: Center of Southwest Culture, Inc.


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

The Center of Southwest Culture's Cooperative Center (CODECE) project received $100,000 in USDA funding to provide technical assistance to underserved communities--specifically for Indigenous communities--to form two new farming cooperatives. The cooperatives will not only be sustainable over the long-run, but they will also serve as a community-wide collective investments that will provide members with meaningful returns to help augment their existing incomes.
CODECE targeted underserved Native American communities who are threatened by poverty and lack of economic opportunity, but have access to arable land and water rights. CODECE formed cooperatives with an emphasis on members having a relationship based on kinship.
Forming organic farming cooperatives is an effective way for beginning farmers to efficiently leverage resources and increase profitability. Several successful 'buy local' campaigns such as Farm-to-Table and Farm-to-Restaurant have created a situation where the demand for local and organic produce far outstrips the current supply. The farmers grew organic produce, that is overall more profitable and in higher demand. 
The funds were used to conduct the following activities: guide members in the production of more profitable crops like organic fruits and vegetables; implemented production and management strategies to enhance land stewardship among these farmers; provided hands-on technical assistance in incorporation, by-laws and articles of incorporation; provided basic business training in budgets, taxes and other business-related activities; provided farm plans, including sequential planting, crop rotations, crop selection for optimum market share; provided access to investment capital; connected members to organic food markets; and developed a long-term professional relationship with these new cooperatives to ensure their longevity and viability. We incorporated two farming cooperatives during the life of the grant. In addition, the project created 10 new jobs.

Number of Participants: 30


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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success