About Gila Farm Cooperative
Gila Farm Cooperative is a group of refugee farmers resettled in Central Arizona. The 27-acre farm where Gila Farm Cooperative primarily raises crops is located in Pinal County, just south of Phoenix.
Gila Farm Cooperative was founded in 2011 with support from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Phoenix. The IRC has been working with refugee farmers in Arizona since 2007 through the New Roots Farm and Food Security program, which promotes economic empowerment, household food security, and self-sufficiency of refugee and asylee farmers.
Gila Farm Cooperative’s farmers hail from Bhutan, Burma, Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Iraq, Liberia, Sudan, Somalia, Togo, and Uzbekistan; bringing with them decades of experience working with the land and growing diverse crops. The farmers have left behind countries torn by war, oppression, political upheaval, and natural disaster to pursue life in the United States. Many of them find peace and joy in farming, an activity that provides continuity with their former lives.
Gila Farm Cooperative is committed to sustainable, local agriculture and does not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides on crops.
What is a refugee?
A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee their home, crossed an international border and cannot return for fear of persecution or life threatening danger. Many refugees come to the United States without any possessions and without knowing anyone. Other refugees come here to be reunited with family members. All of Gila Farm Cooperative’s refugee farmers came to the US legally, through the US State Department’s Refugee Program.
What is a cooperative?
A cooperative is a member-owned, member-run business. By sharing resources and working together—rather than competing against each other—the group of farmers known collectively as Gila Farm Cooperative is able to consistently offer the best food for the lowest prices, directly to consumers.