One of the many benefits of cooperative, community-owned grocery stores — commonly known as food co-ops - are the support they give to local, sustainable farming practices. Why is that important? Just ask Rose Potter, owner of Nutshell Farm www.nutshellforestfarm.com a perennial-based farm in Hillsboro that sustainably cultivates cut flowers, eggs, fruits, herbs, honey, nuts, meats and vegetables.
"As a small grower, sustainability means cultivating crops that make sense for our region," Rose said. "We work with our local ecology to make the most of seasonal rainfall and temperate, dry summers by using techniques such as dry farming, incorporating pollinator and habitat hedgerows, intercropping annuals amongst woody perennials, and maybe most importantly, selecting site-specific species/varieties. Growing the right plant in the right place helps us keep our growing practices efficient, reduces our water use, and makes crops more adaptable to a changing climate."
Rose believes that food co-ops like the Hillsboro Food Co-op that prioritize foods from local farmers, will directly help growers like her with a reliable source of revenue and access to customers they may not otherwise reach. In turn, that allows her to invest in the future of her farm. "I've been a part of the Hillsboro Food Co-op since the beginning because we share a fundamental belief that our community deserves access to the best possible food," Rose said.
Hillsboro Food Co-op is conducting their annual member-owner drive during the month of October. For more information or to become an owner, visit www.hillsborofood.coop/fabulousfall.
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