The Gorge Farmer Collective is a cooperatively-owned and -operated online marketplace. Established in 2020 by a small group of farmers with a big vision, we strive to make shopping for locally grown products easy. We serve both retail and wholesale customers: whether you’re an individual shopping for healthy foods for yourself and your family, or a school or restaurant procuring your kitchen menu, accessing food from dozens of Gorge farmers is just a few clicks away.
Our Mission & Vision
Our mission is rooted in promoting and fostering local family farmers while providing customers with a diverse selection of some of the finest and freshest foods sustainably grown in the Gorge. The Cooperative strengthens connections between producers and consumers, simplifying the farm-to-table process. We recognize that the Columbia Gorge food system is unique and dynamic, and aim to build its richness, health, equity, and resilience through broad collaboration.
The Gorge Farmer Collective (GFC) was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic, as an innovative response to restaurant accounts disappearing overnight, and farmers facing the potential of losing their ability to sell directly through a farmers market environment. This crisis reverberated across the country as we saw local farmers struggle to get their products to eaters and grocery store shelves go barren with supply chain disruptions.
In the Columbia Gorge, there existed no grassroots local farmer network to overcome this barrier, and so we created one. In spring of 2020, five farms came together to form an online, direct-to-consumer marketplace to ensure we could sell our products, and our customers could maintain access to safe, healthy foods in a time when it mattered most. In 2021, we transitioned from a multi-member LLC to a Cooperative, and in 2022 we are expanding our services to include wholesale purchasing in addition to our original direct-to-consumer marketplace.
We are now a coalition of 35 producers and counting, working together to make big strides in the resilience and health of our local food system. You can meet and read more about our producers here.
What’s a cooperative, and why does it matter?
A Cooperative is a business equally owned and controlled by the very members whose needs it is created to serve. Each farmer member involved owns an equal share of the business. We are an organization of farmers, for farmers. A co-op is a democratic and community-oriented organization: our members collaborate and manage the business according to their shared priorities, each with a single vote and an equal ownership share - a truly grassroots, autonomous, and deeply collaborative approach to building our local food system.
Each member also commits to a number of work shifts each month, meaning we all pitch in to help pack and transport your orders, building our relationships with one another along the way as a result of being business partners and coworkers. Because there is no outside owner to take profit from our work, the costs of doing business can be kept as low as possible, translating to more money in our farmers’ pockets and the best deals for our customers.