Published September 1, 2002 | September 2002 issue
Four years ago, three farming families pooled their products and
resources to offer consumers in the U.P. some choices in food products
and to promote sustainable agriculture. Now the Big North Farm Co-op
has grown to nearly a dozen producers and varied the product mix
to include such items as smoked and fresh fish; wool blankets from
the eastern U.P.; heirloom vegetables, that is,
old-fashioned varieties; and buffalo meat. Co-op member-producers guarantee that their products are free of hormones, pesticides and herbicides.
Several co-op members reportedly turned to sustainable, or organic, farming because they found that traditional farming was not as profitable and to avoid the whims of the standard ag markets.
The co-op's market now counts more than 200 year-round customers who range from the Keweenaw Peninsula to Petoskey and Detroit in the Lower Peninsula.