The Case of the Co-op Coup
Kate, a small-scale vegetable farmer, was a member of a regional Food Hub Producers’ Cooperative whose purpose was to aggregate and distribute produce from small and mid-size farmers. The produce would be marketed and sold to regional institutional buyers and direct to consumers. As their volunteer steering committee membership slowly evolved and larger producers took over, she and other founding members were marginalized. She received an email, following a meeting she and other key players couldn’t attend, stating that a few members of the group had decided to create a different business entity that would focus more on getting mid size to larger producers involved. Kate was not sure what even happened except to call it a co-op “coup.” After the fact she said, “I thought I had a better handle on group process.” She and the co-founder, Kevin, were left pondering what exactly happened to this group.