In 2017, Seward Co-op was among the first co-ops in the Midwest to commit to an order of watermelons grown by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives (FSC), based in East Point, Georgia. In summer 2022, after time off due to inclement weather leading to a loss of crops, we once again received another FSC watermelon order! This partnership is an important example of cooperation in action for many reasons. Most importantly, it exemplifies creating the food system we want, as opposed to settling for the food systems we have.
FSC was founded in 1967 to assist in the economic development of Black farmers and the rural poor who had been discriminated against by the USDA and other exclusionary programs. The co-op has an education program that supports reclaiming traditional and ancestral knowledge of growing and providing food for families and communities. These are skills many farmers were forced to abandon due to the shift to industrial agriculture, and a national trade policy that economically favored corporate agriculture.