Barley Fields
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cooperating to enhance native american food economies

Welcome to the conversation: Introduction and Frame-setting


Vision for Rebuilding Native American Food and Agriculture Infrastructure

Toni Stanger-McLaughlin, Native American Agriculture Fund

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Power, Reach and Potential of Cooperatives

Doug O'Brien, NCBA CLUSA

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Cooperatives in the Agriculture Economy

Dr. Murray Fulton, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

Cooperative development in creating thriving food economies

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USDA Commitment to Rural America

Dr. Karama Neal, Rural Development-Cooperative Service, US Department of Agriculture


Lessons Learned: Developing Sustainable Food Systems

Carly Griffith Hotvedt, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative 

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Unlocking Development Capital for Agriculture and for Ag Cooperatives

Jason Lueders, CoBank

Cooperatives in indian country: opportunities and challenges

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Shared Values: Indigenous People and Cooperatives

Pamela Standing, Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance

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Shared Values: Indigenous People and Cooperatives

Rachelle Morrison and Katherine Minthorn, Rez Chicks Fresh Eggs Cooperative

Imagining a cooperative native food system


Meeting Community Needs: Cooperatives in Action

CE Pugh, National Co+op Grocers


Meeting Community Needs: Cooperatives in Action

Duane Wilson, Arctic Co-operatives Limited


Meeting Community Needs: Cooperatives in Action

Jerry McGeorge, Organic Valley

other resources


The Native American food and agriculture sector is the single most underappreciated resources for sustainable, rural economic development in our nation. This Vision provides an infrastructure framework to harness Indian Country's economic and nutritional potential to recover from COVID-19.


To better understand co-ops and their link to healthy, equitable and sustainable communities, CDF and NCBA CLUSA have been working with the Urban Institute to develop a shared framework for assessing impact on cooperative enterprises, their members and the communities they serves. This partnership is supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Measuring impact is a valuable tool for communicating the importance of cooperatives for their members, communities and policymakers. In partnership with the Urban Institute, the Cooperative Development Foundation and the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) have developed a seven-factor framework for evaluating cooperative impact. These factors are: Access; Business Sustainability; Community Commitment; Democratic Governance and Empowerment; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Financial Security and Advancement; and Growth.

The sector reports below examines how each sector influences economic activity, community vitality and individual well-being based on this framework.

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In this report, we provide an overview of the role cooperatives can play in building healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities and explain how to advance that work through federal, state, and local policy. The policy objectives we present are intended not to simply grow the field of cooperatives, but to enhance the work of cooperatives that address economic and racial disparities in the United States.

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This report provides a comprehensive summary of basic information on the cooperative way of organizing and operating a business. It covers the nature and extent of the use of cooperatives, compares cooperatives to other business structures, explains the roles various people play in a cooperative, and discusses equity accumulation and income taxation. The purpose is to make available, in a single report, the information someone would need to acquire a general understanding of how cooperatives function.

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Cooperative Development Services (CDS) and their partners at the Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance (MNIBA) are pleased to make available this 2020 publication: Beginning the Cooperative Journey Together: A Guide to Indigenous Community Cooperative Development.  Authored by MNIBA, with content and editing support from CDS, the Guide is intended to support collective and cooperative approaches within Indigenous communities. 

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A USDA report entitled The Role of Food Hubs in Local Food Marketing.

USDA released a multi-volume technical report series entitled Running  a Food Hub.

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