Take a survey to help us choose the best form of our new hybrid food cooperative!
The Fertile Underground in 1000 Words!
Take a look inside our Grocery's 4 walls with a virtual store tour
Fertile Underground is proud to partner with local shop display supplier, Displays2Go
Great Photo Gallery of the New Urban Farmers
We Got Recipes!
Fertile Underground feel that solutions should come from within our communities, to address the unique scenarios we face. Especially in environments which have been “used up” by capitalism, in which the capital has moved on to greener (cheaper) pastures, we have a responsibility to respond to these desolate circumstances with fresh energy, and take action to improve the conditions of our life.
These new and ambitious creations will help our communities maintain their integrity, rather than becoming the “cultural wasteland” produce by one-size-fits-all big business models. The West Side doesn’t need Walmart to come and supply “affordable (low-quality)” food options; we need to work closely with local farmers and food suppliers to create food chains that respect the land, the environment, the workers, and our own bodies. By connecting closely with local food, we begin to root ourselves again into timeless ways of life.
Local food is truly the front-line in regards to a daily commitment toward defending the environment. Our modern food system has become elaborate and convoluted, designed to maximize the use of synthetic and homogenized/commodified inputs, and has now reached a resource crisis. Every input in modern agriculture- seed, water, machinery, fertilizer/manure, fuel- is increasing in cost, other than sunlight and the low wages paid to farmers. Huge subsidies to these farms are also taxing the nation toward bankruptcy, and cannot be relied on to continue our supply of cheap food. Small farmers practicing on holistic “circular” farms which reclaim resources, will become the standard once more, due to the use of time-tested methods.
Farming is done best in cooperation with the landscape. We listen to the land, and allow the place to inform our actions. Each small farm operated by a human in love with nature is a gem. The wide use of our natural resource- the fertility of land- is what allowed our nation to become “the greatest”; we have now become the “most hated” directly because of our blatant disrespect for our own resources, and those around the world! Small, simply run, chemical free farming practices are proven to be more efficient. The more we can produce here at home, the less we rely on other “subordinate” nations to grow food for us, the closer we are to witnessing a sense of global equanimity.
Each person can make the choice to support this movement by abandoning the unsafe, genetically modified, pesticide-ridden, monoculture crops, and buying from respectable farmers who devote their lives to cultivating the land.
Fertile Underground operate as a Worker-Cooperative, which we find to be the most advanced business model in existence. A model of ownership BY the workers, wherein capital is subordinate to those who are using it, not vice versa. Worker-Cooperatives won’t abandon their employees in search of cheap labor elsewhere. Instead, they persevere to develop jobs within human boundaries, and enjoy a sense of autonomy unknown in the status wage system.
This is a moment of financial withdraw, where money is tight, lenders are taking a hard glance at the possibilities, and in general, growth is happening slow. It is those “in it for the long haul” that will be able to build and grow in this time, and be sure it is no house of cards, but rather a densely interwoven support on which they stand upon. We are informed by the Rochdale Pioneers (the first Cooperative) who “saved two pennies when they had none to spare.” A group of 28 out-of-work weavers and artisans pooled resources to buy food, opening their store with a small selection of butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal, and a few candles. Through the continued commitment of it’s members, these Pioneers built a reputation as purveyor of high integrity goods, continuing in varying forms for almost 150 years.
These entities are substantial additions to the fabric of our life. Small & beautiful farms teeming with life, growth, and process; collectively-run businesses operated with integrity and commitment to service; craftsfolk able to dedicate time to their practical arts; when we choose this over “cheap”, we get quality of life, over “disposable, waste.”
The economy will not create jobs for us, it is we who must define our new roles in society, and begin fulfilling public functions which dignify our roles as human. When we begin serving each other in meaningful ways, we may expect to be supported in turn. It is a complete reevaluation which must occur, one which is not driven by wall street, but driven by our own passions for life.