Grower groups give power to small farms

Author: Larry Jacobs and Sandra Belin
Jan 12, 2015

The inability of Mexico's rural poor to feed their families forces them to leave their homes to work at large corporate farms, join the legions of factory workers living in urban slums or risk crossing illegally into the United States.

Associations of small-scale growers, however, make it possible for subsistence farmers to earn a good living.

Our company, Jacobs Farm / Del Cabo, founded its first growers' association in 1985 at the tip of the Baja peninsula. We taught sound organic farming practices, provided capital and logistics, and connected products to markets. Today, Del Cabo works in four Mexican states with more than 1,000 families.

By aggregating hundreds of small-scale farms to compete in today's global market, grower associations create economic opportunities in rural communities and significantly increase family incomes. We've seen this lead to better housing, medical care and nutrition. Parents can afford higher education for their children, some of whom have become doctors, lawyers and accountants.

Providing the business structure for families to earn a living makes other good things possible as well: healthcare, decent living conditions, and the personal satisfaction of participating in a sustainable food system.

The entire food chain loses when profits are put before people.

Larry Jacobs and Sandra Belin are the founders of Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo.

Click here to be directed to the LA Times Op-Ed article

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