International Co-op Day: The Power to Act for a Sustainable Future

International-Day-of-Cooperatives-2016On Saturday, July 2nd, co-ops around the world joined the United Nations (UN) and the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) in celebrating the International Day of Co-operatives, a yearly event since 1923.  This year’s theme, “Co-operatives: The Power to Act for a Sustainable Future,” highlights the contribution of co-operative enterprise to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which align well with Monadnock Food Co-op’s Ends Policies.

“Co-op Day is an opportunity for us to look at our impact on global issues,” said Bonnie Hudspeth, Member Programs Manager of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), a federation of 35 food co-ops and start-up initiatives, locally owned by over 100,000 people across New England. “It is also an opportunity for our food co-ops to share the work they do every day to make our food system and economy more fair, equitable, and sustainable.”

During the UN General Assembly in September 2015, world leaders committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, outlining an ambitious plan to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change over the next fifteen years. The co-operative movement is recognized as having a unique role to play in these efforts, representing a business model based on ethical values and principles, with sustainable development at its core. Locally rooted and people driven, co-ops contribute to sustainable economic growth, social development, and environmental responsibility.

Poster_I shop at the coop because_FINAL_11x14Here in New England, food co-ops have been at the forefront of movements for sustainability, from organic agriculture to Fair Trade, energy conservation to alternative energy, and local foods to food security. Monadnock Food Co-op strives to be a sustainability leader in all of these areas:

  • We have sold well over $5,000,000 worth of Certified Organic food in the 3 years and 2 months since opening
  • We are proud to be the site of the first Community Supported Solar project in New Hampshire
  • We divert all of our food waste either to The Community Kitchen, local pig farmers or a commercial composting facility
  • We purchase from over 250 food producers within 110 miles of our co-op
  • In the last 12 months we have given over $21,000 in discounts to low-income shoppers
  • In the last 12 months we have donated over $7,500 and raised over $17,000 for local non-profits
  • We have over 2600 Member-Owners who will likely receive a patronage refund after we reach cumulative break even this fiscal year – the earliest of any startup in our region that is part of the National Co-op Grocers.

Celebrated internationally on the first Saturday in July, Co-op Day in the United States coincides with Independence Day weekend, offering a unique opportunity to focus on the democratic values of the co-operative business model. Based on the principle of one member one vote, co-ops reflect American ideals of democracy, self-help, self-responsibility, and social responsibility. And because co-operatives are focused on meeting member needs rather than maximizing profit, they are focused on goals identified by their members, including social, economic and environmental sustainability.

For more information and a map of food co-ops across our region, please visit www.nfca.coop.

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