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Elderberry America

A growing network of allied farmers in one cooperative who grow, harvest and add value to elder flowers and berries according to their separately designed and implemented farm plans. That is our goal. By its nature and history, elderberry provides a variety of solutions to environmental and human health problems as well as a collage of opportunities open to individual initiative and cooperative success from a farmer’s field to a person’s pantry. It is rarely grown as a primary crop, which makes an elderberry growers’ cooperative particularly useful. While the coop markets and sells bulk berries and berry or flower ingredients into the national-global market, the greatest number of our growers focus on selling their harvested elder berry and/or flower crops directly into their local markets and online - perhaps as value added products.

Elderberry growers in several different states have begun the process of cooperating with each other based primarily on pragmatic proximity. The principles at work are freely given participation and proportional, self determined commitment and responsibility with a purpose for mutual benefit administered by broadly shared governance. Each farmer is responsible for his own farm production and may become a member of the Midwest Elderberry Cooperative without a required commitment to large scale commercial production. 

With about 500 acres currently devoted to commercial elderflower and elderberry production in our coop and network of growers, we are progressing towards a 2025 goal of 2,500 acres of sustainably produced, certified organic native elderberry, which will enable us to enter into and fulfill large multi-year commitments with key suppliers. Organic Certification is encouraged for all elderberry and elderflower growers who plan to sell into larger markets. “Certified Organic” is often required to meet the ingredient specifications commonly desired by national or global buyers. Many of our growers describe themselves as “beyond organic” and/or “regenerative” in practice.

Growth of MEC organization and geographical reach through the development of regional production and storage hubs / partnerships of varying size and scope:

  • Regeneration Acres, Clayton, WI - Natasha Simeon
  • Regeneration Farms, Northfield, MN - Tony Wells
  • River Hills Elderberry Producers, LLC (RHEP), Hartsburg, MO - Terry Durham
  • Sacred Blossom Farms, Gilmanton, WI - Tony DiMaggio
  • Savannah Institute, Madison, WI - Kevin Wolz
  • Veterans Farm Initiative (VFI), Montrose, MN - Tom Norris
  • West Branch Elderberry, Orange City, IA - Mark & Verlyn Sneller
  • In process of organization: Indiana and Texas locations

 

© Midwest Elderberry Cooperative 2018