Welcome. Thanks for checking us out.
We are a collaborative of people from all over the world who are
growing food together in a way that is more sustainable to our
community. We source land in urban areas that is not being utilized.
The mission of the Village Agricultural Cooperative is three fold:
Connect people with land
Provide education and resource connections
Grow the farmers of tomorrow
The Village was founded in Spring of 2019 by local partnerships between staff of University of Minnesota - Rochester, Diversity Council, Rochester Cambodian Association, Olmsted County Public Health, U of MN Extension Education, Rochester Farmers Market, Plant a Seed, Channel One Food Shelf, and many other local organizations. Our nonprofit business continues to grow as we look to lift our communities through access to land and increased contributions to local markets.
Our original goal was to help our elderly immigrant communities find places in Rochester where they were able to grow food in community, and were welcomed to the space. We have since grown to support local growers from over 22 countries who wish to integrate into local farms and markets. We began our own market at the History Center in 2022 through a partnership with Renewing the Countryside and the USDA. In 2023, we've begun development of formal farmer education through a partnership with Big River Farms, The Food Group. By growing food we increase our health through movement, community, and nutritious foods.
We now support over 200 families at 6 different sites of leased properties in and around Rochester, totaling 11 acres of urban and rural farmland, where our growers rent land on a pay-what-you-can basis and grow foods specific to their country of origin. We also serve a number of senior members of our community who have downsized their homes, and young emerging farmers who are looking for a place to get started.
Founded as a nonprofit in Minnesota in February of 2020, and gaining federal 501(c)3 status in March 2022, the Village was built around the needs of our community, which include:
Food Sovereignty: the right for all people to have culturally appropriate food which is created through sustainable methods, preserving the food systems for future generations.
Environmental Justice: the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in the development and implementation of adequate food systems which feed our people and care for our planet.
Community Integration: strengthens us as a whole by incorporating our diverse skillsets and knowledge bases to create circles where individuals feel strengthened, supported, and connected to and by the world around them.
Regenerative Agriculture: the process of growing food where we replace what we take from the earth, decrease pollution, protect our watersheds, capture carbon and develop processes which preserve soil structure and integrity, creating a healthier ecosystem.
Locally Sourced Food: less reliance on lengthy and complex supply chains, lowered dependence on drought stricken regions with over-worked soils, more dependable access to fresh food and increased food security.
Our work is important because the state of Minnesota has some of the largest disparities in wealth, education, and home ownership between the white majority and marginalized people of color. Opportunities such as the Village support individuals to reduce their grocery bills, preserve indigenous agricultural practices, share their culture with one another, enhance their physical and mental health, and build a healthier community and planet while growing healthy food. We are educating our youth, valuing our senior members, and working together for a stronger future.