Support for Disadvantaged Farmers

At The Common Market, we lift up the work of farmers, ranchers, and producers committed to creating a transparent, equitable, and resilient food system.

We’re committed to supporting socially disadvantaged farmers, growers historically left out of the food system due to racial discrimination. Our supply chain is made up of small- and medium-sized farms, ranches, and producers that promote the leadership of people of color and women.

When you source from The Common Market, you do your part to create diverse regional food systems. You make it possible for our farm partners to continue their vital work of restoring our climate and producing clean, nutritious food.

Buzby Tomato2 2011

The Common Market’s Farmer Network

The Common Market partners with farmers who share our commitment to sustainability and transparency. In each of our regions, we purchase directly from producers located within 250 miles of our warehouses.

We ensure our farmers and producers use practices that meet our client’s value-aligned procurement priorities through a comprehensive Farm Impact Assessment. The Impact Assessment allows us to create market opportunities for our farm partners and identify areas of growth. Our farm partners all meet and often exceed the following requirements:

  • Located within the following radius of each regional chapter:
    • Mid Atlantic: 250 miles from Philadelphia
    • Southeast: 250 miles from Atlanta
    • Texas: Within the state of Texas
    • Great Lakes: 300 miles from Chicago
  • Business is a privately held, family or cooperatively owned enterprise with annual revenue less than $50M

Produce grower requirements:

  • Hold or are working towards Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification by the USDA or approved third-party auditor
  • Only use non-GMO seeds, rootstocks and cultivars
  • No use of neonicotinoid seed treatments
  • Sustainable growing methods and a clear depiction of the farm’s practices
  • Safe and fair conditions for all workers

Animal products requirements:

  • Processed at a USDA inspected and certified facility
  • No use of growth hormones or sub-therapeutic antibiotics
  • No animal by-products in animal feed
  • Certified humane / animal welfare certifications preferred but not required
  • Sustainable growing methods and a clear depiction of the farm’s practices

Historic Exclusion of Black Farmers and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

Historically, and even today, socially disadvantaged farmers, particularly Black farmers, have been excluded from the marketplace. Black farmers owned more than 16 million acres of land in 1910. By 2017 that number dropped to 4.7 million.

From predatory lending practices to racial discrimination and exclusion from government grants, these farmers have worked against tremendous odds to build wealth and maintain their land.

Despite exclusionary policies, these farmers possess deep rooted stories in agriculture, legacy, and family. Their passion and skills drive them to grow nutritious food, tend to the land, and support their communities. At The Common Market, we support these farmers to succeed.

The Common Market is honored to partner with BIPOC farmers across the country, particularly in our Southern regions of Georgia and Texas. Across our regions, we are committed to building trusting relationships with diverse growers. We are excited to partner with communities to establish new market opportunities for their harvests, offering new pathways to wealth and viability.

Plant It Forward Farms Squash
Common Market Snapfinger Farm 203 Sustainability Leaders Hero

How The Common Market Supports Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

We are committed to creating opportunities for all farmers, particularly those who have been historically excluded from the institutional marketplace. We know that thriving regional farms are the base of a resilient supply chain.

We offer the following support to our producers:

  • Forward commitments from customers - Lasting partnerships and consistent purchasing supports our farm partners as they serve as the backbone to strong regional food systems.
  • Fair, transparent pricing - We offer sustainable prices that support the continued growth of our farms.
  • 15-day payment terms - Farm partners get paid in a timely manner and are offered support that bridges payment gaps when needed.
  • Thoughtful onboarding and assessment - Our onboarding process ensures we understand the story of the farm and their practices.
  • Collaborative product planning and producer development - We provide technical assistance to help small producers scale up and develop new products to meet the needs of our institutional partners. This ensures a strong, reliable supply chain with the capacity to produce the food we need.
  • Food safety protocols - We prioritize food safety standards all along the way and will work with producers to secure required documentation.
  • Traceability - Each case of product is source-identified to bring greater visibility to our sourcing partners.
  • Marketing - We prepare marketing materials to help our partners uplift the stories of the producers behind the food.
  • Capital and investment - We strive to provide non-extractive financial assistance to producers within our supply chain to help fund food safety certifications, as well as infrastructure improvements in the areas of post-harvest handling, aggregation, season extension, and beyond.
  • The Common Market Working Capital Loan Fund - This fund provides zero-cost working capital loans specifically to farmers in our network who may not have access to more mainstream forms of credit. The loans facilitate their ability to grow profitably and increase the supply of healthy local food for our communities.

When you partner with The Common Market, you make this support possible.

Discover our Growing Farmer Network by Region

We work with a continuously growing network of farmers across our regions. Learn more about our specific partners at the links below:

Rg Lettuce Farm

Interested in joining The Common Market Farmer Network?

Get in touch here.