our harvest Consulting services

Founded in Cincinnati in 2012, Our Harvest is a multi-stakeholder cooperative that gives people access to healthy, local food in a way that honors land and labor. We grow food responsibly on 12 acres, partner with other local growers, and develop innovative solutions to making healthy food widely available. Our goal is that all Greater Cincinnatians will have easy access to healthy food grown by fairly-compensated workers.

We hope to support the efforts of other food system practitioners and funders by sharing the expertise we have gained through on-the-ground work in the areas of healthy food access, institutional purchasing, urban farming, farmer training, aggregation and distribution, cooperative development and management, and local food system development. Our Harvest Cooperative’s experienced team is currently available for consulting opportunities in a variety of areas including:

•       Increasing access to healthy, local food [experience forging collaborative partnerships, engaging community members and stakeholders, and working with nutrition incentive programs]

•       Institutional purchasing of local produce [experience navigating challenges and hurdles, identifying successful national models, and assessing local purchasing landscape]

•       Farmer training programs [experience creating farm apprenticeship program in connection with local community college]

•       Local food aggregation and distribution [experience determining optimal aggregation point, selecting and maximizing use of refrigerated vehicles, setting prices, forging farm partnerships, and developing best practices for routing, scheduling, and managing inventory]

•       Food hub development and operation [experience engaging feasibility studies and market analyses, determining sales projections, and finding market niche]

•       Food safety regulations and the implication for small farmers [experience navigating GAP and FSMA standards] 

•       CSAs and other direct-to-consumer models [experience running 250-person, year-round modified CSA program]

•       Cooperative development [experience conducting feasibility studies, business planning, accessing capital, and building co-op culture for worker-owned and multi-stakeholder co-ops]

•       Worker-ownership and participatory management [experience facilitating weekly team meetings, implementing cooperative decision-making and open-book management, maintaining co-op culture, leading staff retreats, and equipping workers to be owners]

•       Urban farming [experience farming sustainably on 12 acres, building soil fertility, transitioning conventional land to organic practices, determining scale-appropriate equipment, developing best practices for harvest/pack processes, establishing lease agreements, and maintaining landlord relationships]

Key Personnel

Kristen Barker, Board President: Kristen Barker is a social entrepreneur and the President and Co-Founder of the Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative (CUCI). She leads participatory education with co-op workers, helps determine feasibility of potential co-ops, helps co-ops access capital, and helps existing business owners interested in succession determine if selling their business to their employees is feasible. She hosts delegations from around the country and helps adapt the Mondragon model to the U.S. cultural context. She is currently a BALLE fellow (Business Alliance for Local and Living Economies.) Prior to working full-time for the union co-op movement with Mondragon North America/MAPA, she spent 12 years at the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center fostering faith, labor & community partnerships.

Stephen Dienger, Farm Manager and Board Member: Stephen Dienger is the Assistant Farm Manager at the Our Harvest Cooperative, and has been farming with the Co-op since its onset in 2012. Stephen ran his own garden business prior to the coop, and formerly worked at a dairy farm near Cincinnati and as a garden intern at Turner Farm, an educational farm near Cincinnati. Stephen earned his BS in Social Work from Saint Louis University in 2008. 

 If you are interested in working with Our Harvest, please contact us at ourharvest@ourharvest.coop or (513) 620-4642.