In the past decade, a broad variety of producer organizational innovations has emerged which contributed to reducing small producers’ barriers to market entry while improving policy-making. This paper seeks to identify the factors that are responsible for this successful collective action by small-scale producers. Analysing empirical worldwide cases, this study further suggests that effective collective action results from the building of two interdependent types of relationships: first, bonding or intra-group relationships among small producers within local organizations. Bonding relations empower small-scale producers, enhancing their individual and group capacities to make purposive choices and to transform these choices into desired outcomes (autonomous capacity of action). The second type of relationship is bridging or inter-group relations between small-scale producer organizations to create apex organizations. Bridging relations improve their ability to exert influence on policy-making and on markets to improve the condition of market transactions (bargaining power). With close bonding and strong bridging relations, small-scale producers who were once excluded from markets and social choice have gained the ability to link with powerful market actors and policy-makers thereby playing a greater role in meeting the growing world food demand.