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Putting the Barn Before the HouseWomen and Family Farming in Early Twentieth-Century New York$
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Grey Osterud

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450280

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450280.001.0001

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Forming Cooperatives and Taking Collective Action

Forming Cooperatives and Taking Collective Action

(p.193) 9 Forming Cooperatives and Taking Collective Action
Putting the Barn Before the House

Grey Osterud

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines rural women's active participation in movements that promoted economic cooperation and collective action while resisting the rise of capitalist agribusiness and the marginalization of women's work that was often explicit in the recommendations of agricultural and home economics advisors. At the turn of the twentieth century, Nanticoke Valley farmers formed cooperatives that allowed them to not only purchase fertilizer and feed but also process and market their products. Bargaining collectively and excluding the middlemen who would otherwise profit from their trade made farming more sustainable economically. It also ensured that farmers had practice in conducting organizations and handling financial affairs democratically. This chapter looks at the history of the Broome County Farm and Home Bureau, as well as the local branches of the Dairymen's League and the Grange League Federation, to illustrate the ways that rural men and women organized themselves to solve the socioeconomic problems they faced.

Keywords:   rural women, economic cooperation, agribusiness, Nanticoke Valley, cooperatives, farming, Broome County, Dairymen's League, Grange League Federation, collective action

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