Over the past few months groups in Barbour and Bullock counties have been working on creating farmer cooperatives in the area with grant funds from Auburn University, Tuskegee University and SHARE to get the planning process started.
To date, a business plan and feasibility study have been conducted for a food aggregation center to be located in Clayton at the old Farm Center to act as a marketing point for farmers in the Wiregrass region and portion of west Georgia.
The project is still in the planning phase, and the Barbour County Extension Office invited area farmers who are interested in taking part in the project to come to the Clayton Dime Store in Eufaula on Sept. 20 at 5:30 p.m. Those interested in seeing the farm center will meet at 4:30 p.m. to walk through the center located at 276 AL-239 in Clayton.
Organizers will introduce the concept of the food aggregation center and farmers’ cooperative, food safety considerations, organizational structure for the organization, produce considerations and potential partnerships with Auburn University’s Campus Dining program and other organizations that are looking for local produce. Natalie Bishnoi, who has been successfully operating a similar organization in north Alabama, will also speak.
The purpose of this project is to develop a sustainable regional network for farmers that will provide a variety of local fresh foods to consumers, restaurants, grocery stores, and schools.