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Empowering Students to Understand the Power of Cooperatives

Explore the supply chain and help students understand the cooperative business model with digital resources from Cooperative Minds!

Bringing food from the farm to your table takes a lot of hard work. Right now, about 96% of the farms in the United States are family-owned and produce $136.1 billion worth of crops, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But bringing crops to the consumer can be challenging. That’s why farmers join together in agricultural cooperatives, or co-ops.

While farming continues to evolve with technological innovation, co-ops have been around for more than 250 years—since the beginning of the industrial revolution. One of the first known examples of a co-op is from the 1860’s when a group of farmers fought for restrictions on grain-storage and railroad fees. Cooperatives are like corporations in many ways but, instead of being owned primarily by shareholders, they are owned by their members who use the cooperative’s products, supplies or services – joining together likeminded individuals to achieve a common goal.

To help students better understand this critical aspect of the supply chain, CHS Foundation and Discovery Education partnered to create Cooperative Minds, an educational initiative immersing high school students nationwide in the dynamic ingenuity and collaborative spirit of cooperatives. Students can sow the seeds of success with no-cost and standards-aligned resources that help them explore essential careers and endless possibilities in agricultural cooperatives.

No matter where learning takes place, educators can integrate the resources, like the new Power of Cooperatives Virtual Field Trip, into lessons to engage students and expand their thinking. This virtual experience digs into the exciting ways agricultural cooperatives are connecting communities and inspiring everyday innovation. Students will trace the lifecycle of a crop from the ground up to see how collaboration and creativity combine to nourish communities, solve problems, and improve lives. Along the way, students will meet a variety of real-world co-op professionals who reveal the STEM innovations that today’s farms are using to stay productive.

The resource is turnkey and comes with an educator resource guide detailing student activities for before, during, and after the virtual field trip. Show students the power of collaboration and help them grow into a successful future today by checking out the virtual field trip, and more, at cooperative-minds.com and on the Discovery Education K-12 learning platform.




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