Jane Black writes in Wednesday's Post about a farmers market which serves as an intermediary between local farmers and their customers. Organized as a co-op, it sells the farmer's produce for a 10 percent cut of the proceeds, thereby saving the farmers from having to sell and enabling them to continue producing. It sounds good. It sounds like the Reston farmers market at the corner of Rte 7 and Baron Cameron back in the 70's, 80's, and 90's. That was run by a hippie who settled down and made his living by serving as a middleman between farmers and customers. He got into trouble with the zoning people by going too far a field for some of his products, but it worked for a long while.
Selling cooperatives go way back. They work, for a while, I think, but eventually something changes. The person who drove the enterprise gets old or tired, or both; free market forces drive expansion and conversion into something like Whole Foods, or the clientele ages, changes, or moves.