South Dakota’s food coop

Farm Forum

In May I had the privilege of working with South Dakota’s first Local Foods Coop located in and around the Brookings area. These dedicated farmers grow a variety of food. The coop members also promote knowing where your food originates and choosing local products, as a good choice.

The Food Coop is directed through Dakota Rural Action, a non-profit group with membership from many types of producers and consumers of food. They hold strong beliefs in healthy growing and healthy eating, and have a keen interest in promoting local products. Their leadership has driven the Food Coop to thoughts of expanding and including growers and consumers further out in the state. My role was to assist them in establishing a transportation system for their food products that would allow for that expansion.

After our first meeting of planning, members went home with assignments of various research projects to learn more about their considerations before our next meeting. The end goal of a transportation system to connect growers’ products with consumers’ appetites seems like a great way to offer opportunities to try local products for more South Dakota families.

If you are a grower or consumer with an interest in belonging to a coop that offers local foods on a regular basis, check out DRA’s website ( or give me a call at (605) 685-6972.