As a cooperative example, David Johnson's father, Alton Johnson, started the "Many Farms Coop", the first of its kind in the 1960's on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. Alton orchestrated 20 Navajo families to pool their land resources together to form a farming coop. Alton was able to secure a grant so the coop could purchase the necessary equipment to commercially raise cucumbers to be shipped to a pickling factory in Farmington, NM for processing. The coop was very successful for many years and the 20 families were able to become financially independent...a positive result of a well-run coop!
The current cooperative initiative is called "GB Coop", or "GBC".
As a boy of 7, I built my first tree fort in one of the trees in our yard—a rare thing in the middle of the semi-arid desert of the Navajo Reservation, AZ. I imagined myself climbing up the different limbs of the tree like in the movie Swiss Family Robinson. Although there was no comparison between the two, of a necessity I was on a seek-and-find budget, where I hunted the area for scraps of lumber and reused nails that had to be manually straightened. It was my first attempt at building something both fun and functional.
Today, it is no coincidence that cottages have arrived where they are as a natural consequence of product improvement (see infographic) -- improvement from the standpoint of both efficiency and customer satisfaction. Customer need is what drives the cottage industry. Meeting that need from a manufacturing standpoint is limiting because of the scale of the product and the required final steps on-site (Buchli, 2018).
"We designed and built the cottage prototype ourselves, and we live in it"