Homegrown Local Food Cooperative exists to ensure convenient access and consistent supply of locally grown foods that are ethical, organic and sustainable in production to the communities of Central Florida. Our mission is to support the production, promotion and distribution of these foods throughout our region. We also strive to educate the community about the products we sell (and choose not to sell). This is our contribution to a healthier, better informed community.
To inspire and empower our members to grow their own organic food, is the way to a more sustainable future.
Homegrown Local Food Cooperative sees a world in which humanity has harmony within itself, with the environment, and with technology. By cooperating with one other, we are committed to building something greater than ourselves. Our vision is a transparent and decentralized food system where consumers connect directly with locally owned and operated, organic farms. We work each day to cultivate a world where healthy living is an easier choice; a world where people can live abundantly from the fruits of their labor on the land.
Food is a necessity for life; therefore, we believe natural food crops should be regulated to the public domain. We believe local food systems should run as not-for-profits. Grounded in the belief of people before profit, we provide a democratic approach where your health and the environment come first. The Homegrown Local Food Cooperative is owned by Producer and Consumer members that use its services. When the Co-op begins to make a profit, Members decide democratically to return profits back to themselves and/or reinvest back into the Co-op for continued mission development.
Homegrown Local Food Cooperative Strives To:
- Provide healthy, local, ethically produced food direct from the producers.
- Support certified organic and all-natural foods, free of added hormones, antibiotics and genetic modifications.
- Support local and sustainable, high quality agricultural practices.
- Provide a network for the production and distribution of locally prepared foods and non-food products made with local, sustainably produced ingredients.
- Support a Central Florida food system that preserves the cultural heritage, landscape, water, soil and air vital to a sustainable community.
- Encourage our producers to enhance the biodiversity of native species on their land and to continually improve their environmental stewardship and conservation practices.
- Use renewable energy sources whenever possible for the distribution of foods
- Support the global cooperative movement and its principles.
- Serve local consumers of all income levels.
The Florida School of Holistic Living started the Homegrown Co-op in 2007 with a mission to “Cultivate Sustainable Community”. The Co-op’s development began in a local round-table discussion that identified food production, especially organic food production, as the biggest missing component for a sustainable Central Florida community; a community with a population growing in excess of 5 million people, and grappling with high unemployment, deteriorating health outcomes, and the environmental consequences of unsustainable development. It was then we realized the common need to support local organic agriculture and other types of wholesome family-owned businesses.
After meeting with local farmers, we realized the financial struggles they faced: real-estate changes increased their property tax burdens while their products were forced out of market by large corporations sourcing food imports from countries thousands of miles away, with human rights violations and poor environmental regulations. Around the table, we agreed: if Central Florida was to remain economically stable and grow towards environmental sustainability, we must start building a sustainable local food network. So, after a year of research & development, Homegrown Local Food Cooperative launched our weekly online food distribution program in November 2007 with 10 local farmers participating. All activities took place within a one 100 square foot room inside the Florida School of Holistic Living. At peak, 65 individuals purchased food regularly through our online ordering system.
Understanding the systemic problems to the commercial sources of food our society has grown dependent upon, Homegrown has spent the last four years actively refining a vision of a unique, decentralized model to replace the globalized industrial food system. For instance, our Online Farmer’s Market has grown to connect over 2,000 consumers directly with 45 Florida farms and artisan kitchens – many of which are new to farming and have been inspired by the success of Homegrown. Our Online Farmer’s Market and home delivery distribution system is a low-capital model, and an affective economic engine for genuine social change.
Our leadership has met regularly with a long list of producers, small business consultants, government officials, and food development specialists, and has networked with people out-of-state working on similar projects to continue Homegrown’s development of ideas and directives. In January 2010, Homegrown Local Food Cooperative became an independent organization and incorporated as a not-for-profit cooperative. At this time, we also announced ambitious development plans to relocate and expand, so as to ensure our ability to provide continued service to the Central Florida community. We received sponsorship from Florida Hospital, which empowered us to transfer our operations from its beginnings in a single room, to a three-building, 3,000 square foot facility in April 2010. After months of renovation and development, we completed a major transition into this larger facility and launched a retail farm store open five days a week retail store with bi-weekly ordering and delivery service started May 2011.
We proudly now boast over 800 members, and we will soon be launching additional Homegrown food pick-up locations. Dinners with local restaurants, events with local businesses, community potlucks and educational seminars will continue to take place each month.
At Homegrown, we firmly believe, thanks to the diligent efforts of all those involved a clear picture of a sustainable, local food system in Central Florida is beginning to emerge. To date, numerous ranchers and farmers have joined Homegrown and enriched it with bounty of local, sustainable and ethically produced foods. There is absolutely no doubt, organizations and the financial resources for much of our food can be produced within 150 miles of our homes. See our Online Market for information about these producers and the nourishing foods they grow for you and your family.
As support for local food markets grows, the varieties of products available will grow as well. We are on the look out to expand our product list with the most high quality, local options for oils, salt, organic ice creams, home-cooked pre-made foods, and other value added products.
Check out our humble beginnings in this local short, documentary from 2007.
- Tiffany Bailey – Director
- Pam Rogers – Director
- Winston Tait – Director
- Raffaele Sorrentino – Director
- Operations Manager – Jessica Shower
- Market Manager – Tiffany Bailey
- Membership Manager - Michael Nunnery
- IT/Website Manager – Joshua Archer
- Operations Staff - Sam Bourne, Steven Head, Michelle Rosica, Alycia Cardiff
- Delivery Drivers – Eric Cress, Michael Nunnery
- Volunteer Coordinator – Amy Rupert-Secol
- Bookkeeper – Chris Flocken
Governing Documents for the Homegrown Local Food Cooperative.