At the Southern Illinois Farming Alliance annual meeting Sunday, January 17 in Cobden, Illinois, members listened as Amy Randazzo described the farmer-owned distribution company that’s putting money in the pockets of central Illinois farmers.
Legacy of the Land, LLC, is a group of family farms straddling Mclean, Woodford, Livingston and DeWitt counties. They formed in the winter of 2012 to provide a business, educational and community network that makes small-scale, sustainable farming a viable livelihood for more Central Illinois farm families. They raise our animals and grow our crops with care and are committed to providing chemical free, non-GMO products to their customers.
The company sells Illinois-grown produce to a 100-member CSA, farm-to-table restaurants, and to other customers. Farmers aggregate fresh-picked produce twice a week to meet their customers‘ needs. The group meets on a monthly basis to conduct club business, from crop bids and group seed orders to CSA coordination and marketing. During the growing season, each farm reports Tuesday and Friday crop availability to a Crop Manager who coordinates online orders, standing orders, and CSA commitments to create pick lists.
All members play a role in the organization. One member serves as the marketing/bookkeeper; two provide use of on farm cold storage; and others rotate the job of delivery driver. Each farm focuses on what it grows best, and provides as much or as little as they can to the organization. For each $100 of product sold, members pay 18%. Whoever drives the delivery truck gets 6% credited back to them for fuel and expenses. The company retains 2% for insurance and overhead; and pays 6% to its marketing/bookkeeper person and 4% for marketing and website maintenance.
Legacy modeled their company structure on documents shared from Stewards of the Land, a similar LLC that serves the Chicago area. “Marty [of Stewards of the Land] gave us their bylaws as a sample,” said Randazzo. “We changed the name at the top and signed our names. We saw no need to reinvent the wheel.”
Randazzo is now offering assistance southern Illinois growers interested in starting a cooperative model of their own; passing the torch further down state. By-laws and other organizational documents can be made available by emailing us at info(at)eatsouthernillinois.org.
For more information about Legacy of the Land LLC visit their website: http://market.thelegacyoftheland.com/about-us/
by Kathleen Logan Smith
Food Works Executive Director