We are the Black River Cooperative, a worker co-op made up of 5 local, land based businesses working and living regeneratively in Northern Ontario. We are farmers and foragers, builders and planners on the front line of climate and social action. Our work aims to improve the health and wellness of our community through nutrient dense naturally grown foods, ethically harvested products, community access to land and environmental responsibility.
The Black River Cooperative holds a 176 acres farm in Matheson, where the Black River and the Watabeag River meet and flow North to the Arctic ocean. Born out of the need for a land ownership model that values stewardship over extraction, a food system that could provide actual security and an economic model that is fair for everyone, the Black River Cooperative has seen their 3 years of research and community building come to life in 2019.
This year has already seen a very successful community stakeholder meeting, a partnership with community food security organisations to grow a variety of potatoes from a northern agri-research facility, the commencement of the farms Masterplan...a document based in Permaculture, Equality and Access that will guide the operations of the Black River Cooperative and everything that comes after it, and last but not least we have secured financing through the Fair Finance Fund to build a four season, passive solar in ground greenhouse!
Black River Co-op received a loan to support a four-season northern greenhouse. In addition to a new enterprise for micro-greens, impacts include:
• Preservation and regeneration of land and water
• Permaculture practices
• Community regeneration through education and food access
• Sustainable wild foraging for medicinal uses
• Season extension for northern grown food for northern eaters
• Healthy food access for more community members
Our vision has always been aimed at long term, sustainable and responsible solutions to challenges we face now as farmers, business owners and as members of our community. Our greenhouse, food storage and processing facility will become the center point from which the Black River Cooperative can champion food security, cooperatives and social enterprise in the north while developing a non-profit model which will hold land as a community asset and make it accessible to everyone.
Through cooperation, everything is possible.