WHEN the Colorado Mushroom Farm went out of business last September and 100 or so workers lost their jobs, it was Flora Archuleta and the San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center that first stepped up to help.
It was a devastating blow to a proud workforce, some of whom go back to the beginning when the mushroom farm first became operational in the 1980s.
Now fast-forward five months, and you’ll find Archuleta gathering the former mushroom workforce for a meeting this Saturday to discuss what a worker-owned mushroom farm could look like and what those possibilities are.
“There appears to be a lot of people interested in investing in the community if that’s where the community wants to go,” Archuleta said during a taping of The Valley Pod and ahead of Saturday’s meeting at Boyd School.
Archuleta through her work as executive director of the immigrant resource center is the Valley’s closest contact and ally for immigrants across the San Luis Valley and into neighboring New Mexico and other parts of Colorado.
Soon after the closure a survey went out asking whether workers would be interested in forming a co-op in an effort to buy and run the mushroom farm. At its peak the mushroom farm employed more than 200 workers and produced up to 13 million pounds of fresh Portebella and other mushrooms a year.
Listen HERE to the full episode with Archuleta
Earlier from Alamosa Citizen:
Colorado Mushroom Farm goes out of business
It’s the results of the survey and then an ensuing conversation with representatives from the Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center that is the focus of Saturday’s meeting.
“It’s good for revenue and good for the community. People have jobs and its security for the community,” Archuleta said of the idea of a worker-owned mushroom farm. “And then this would be community-based. It would not be owned and operated by the current owners or another owner. This would be owned by the workers themselves.”